We've known for a while that WhatsApp has been prepping a built-in payment service for its users in India, and the beta version of the app is now showing the new payments interface. The feature plugs into the UPI (Unified Payments Interface) program that includes many of the country's most popular banking institutions.
Although not officially announced by the company yet, beta testers have noticed a payment option in the attachment menu between Document and Gallery. According to TechCrunch, iOS users have been able to make payments with the service already. Gizmo Times has tried this out on Android, but it shows a "Couldn't add bank account" error message (below right).
The service supports a long list of banks in the region, including State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and Axis Bank. When it's up and running fully it'll be another boost for what is already by far the most popular messaging service in India. Adding a payment option will see it compete directly with Google's Tez payments app and other apps like Truecaller 8, all of which hope to benefit from the UPI platform.
If you live in India and use WhatsApp, why not sign up for the beta and give payments a try. If you get it working, let us know in the comments down below.
Payments are now working for some
We've been informed that payments are now working. Our tipster sent in the screenshots below.
Left: Setup complete. Right: Payments Account page.
Left: A completed payment. Right: Payment details.
It may only be available for some as part of a limited server-side rollout, so don't panic if you've not got access to it yet. It'll be on its way eventually.