WhatsApp has made significant progress in advancing its relationship with local regulators. With approval looking likely for payments, lending stands as the next step.
WhatsApp is looking at lending to its customers in India, according to one of its objectives of operations listed in its memorandum of association (MoA) in a regulatory filing of its local entity last month. The filings of WhatsApp Application Services showed this would potentially be explored through partnerships with banks because it said it won’t undertake any banking business according to the law. In 2018, WhatsApp started testing its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based product in India with a cap of 1 million users. Yet, soon after that, the project stalled with several regulatory restrictions. Furthermore, the company intended to launch the payment feature by the end of the last year, but failed to get approval from authorities. Industry sources had told TOI last year that the company had looked at lending “seriously enough”. But it was waiting for a final nod on its payments services on the UPI platform from the NPCI. That is expected to arrive in the coming months.