The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) has given WhatsApp, an instant messaging platform the go-ahead to launch a “full feature” inter-bank money transfer service in the country.
The Facebook-owned app, which has more than 1 billion users in over 180 countries, launched the limited service in India, its biggest market of over 200 million users, last week.
NPCI, the body set up by the Reserve Bank of India and lenders to oversee payment services, gave its consent to WhatsApp Inc. to roll out the WhatsApp BHIM UPI beta with a limited user base of 1 million and low per transaction limit.
According to the statement released Friday, four banks are expected to join the United Payments Interface (UPI), which powers the payments service, for WhatsApp.
A full feature of the product is expected to be released after the beta test is successful.
Its success in India might likely pose a threat to established players, though it is entering a competitive market after Alphabet Inc’s Google launched a payments app last year to compete with local players.
Indian’s cashless economy expanded after Narendra Modi, the country’s prime minister banned old high-value currency notes in late 2016, leading to a surge in online payment providers such as homegrown player Paytm, backed by Alibaba, the biggest in India.