Social media firm WhatsApp is reportedly preparing to launch a mobile payment service in Mexico and Brazil.
The news comes two months after Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, the social media giant that owns the messaging app, hinted at the expansion of its payment service to other countries.
In January this year, Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post: “Messaging is the area that’s growing the most quickly, and this year people are going to feel these apps becoming the center of their social experience in more ways. We’ll roll out payments on WhatsApp in some more countries.”
WhatsApp is a new entrant in the fintech market. It made a foray last year when it launched a beta version of a payment service in India. But it has not rolled out the service to all users in the country, as it is apparently struggling to overcome regulatory hurdles.
It cannot replicate the same service in other markets, as the payment service is based on an Indian government-backed open platform called united payment interface (UPI). The UPI-based apps in India link customers’ phone numbers to their bank accounts to facilitate payments.
It is likely that the payment service WhatsApp is planning for Mexico will be similar to that of Samsung Pay or Apple Pay, which facilitate payment through credit or debit cards.
The WhatsApp payment service has a higher likelihood of success in Latin American countries, say analysts because the messaging app is widely popular in the continent, with a huge number of people using it to make phone calls in addition to sharing messages.
Before launching it in Mexico and Brazil, reports say, WhatsApp might test payment features in Britain or the United States.