WhatsApp Pay To Partner With Financial Entities To Deliver Insurance, Credit, Pension To Users; Read Details Here
In a major stride towards financial inclusion in India, Facebook-owned WhatsApp plans to offer credit, insurance and pension products to lower-income individuals and those in rural areas in India and help digitize local small and medium-sized businesses, reports TechCrunch.
The WhatsApp’s head in India, Abhijit Bose, said on Wednesday (22 July) that the company will also support multiple pilots to test potential solutions to solve problems related to the distribution of financial products.
"These pilots will be done jointly with our partners as well as innovative tech partners in each vertical. Each pilot will start with a small experiment to test our hypotheses and based on the results, we will co-invest and scale the ones that show promise," he informed.
Addressing the Global Fintech Fest via video conferencing, Bose underscored that WhatsApp has been working with multiple partner banks, like ICICI, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra, to see how it can supplement their digital presence and accelerate the pace of financial access across segments and geographies in the country.
He further added that the experience of the past year has shown that Banks can leverage Whatsapp reach to enhance its service offering among the customers and the collective aim over the next 2-3 years is to be able to help low wage workers in the unorganised informal economy to easily access three products - insurance, microcredit and pension.
It should be noted that WhatsApp had started testing its payment service - WhatsApp Pay- for a limited user base in India in 2018. The platform based on UPI allowed users to utilise the messaging platform to send and receive money,
Data compliance issues and regulations have kept WhatsApp Pay’s nation-wide launch in abeyance for quite some time, despite a successful test run of the payments service with one million users in the country.
Kotak Mahindra Bank was one of the first banks in the country to launch banking services on WhatsApp in 2018.
The bank has served nearly 20 lakh customers on its WhatsApp Banking channel to date, with a massive 98 per cent increase in the customer base accessing WhatsApp Banking in the financial year 2020 as compared to the last financial year.
"Given that the majority of our customers are familiar with the WhatsApp interface, we found that many of our digitally inactive customers have adopted WhatsApp as their first digital banking channel," Deepak Sharma, President and Chief Digital Officer, Kotak Mahindra Bank, told IANS.
Take the case of HDFC Bank which is using WhatsApp Business API as one of the key channels for engaging with the customers - from one way push messages such as on-boarding communication to new customers, information on product features and benefits, payment notifications and regulatory updates.
"WhatsApp also helps in two-way customer support through access to more than 8,000 FAQs on bank's products and services, quick product application links and enquiry services," informed Anjani Rathor, Chief Digital Officer at HDFC Bank.
According to Bose, the current lockdown has magnified the critical need for businesses to have a digital presence.
"Businesses that many people were previously accustomed to visiting in person -- a bank or grocery store, for example -- are finding WhatsApp to be especially useful for providing customers with support and useful information," said Bose.
WhatsApp has more than 400 million users in India who make the messaging service's largest market worldwide. Once launched in this market on a full-fledged basis, Whatsapp Pay will compete against other industry giants like Alibaba backed PayTM, Google's G-Pay and Walmart owned PhonePe.
With IANS Inputs
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