WhatsApp Pay is coming this year

But only in India for now.

Corinne Reichert Senior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently oversees the CNET breaking news desk for the West Coast. Corinne covers everything from phones, social media and security to movies, politics, 5G and pop culture. In her spare time, she watches soccer games, F1 races and Disney movies.
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Corinne Reichert

WhatsApp Pay could launch soon.

Angela Lang/CNET

WhatsApp is launching a payments system later this year, starting in India. Will Cathcart, the Facebook subsidiary's global head, said Wednesday the company has been testing its payments in India since last year, according to Business Today.

The messaging app has 400 million users in India and 1.5 billion globally, the report says, with the payments announcement coming as Facebook begins its play into cryptocurrency. Facebook last month unveiled the global digital coin, which will be managed by a governing body called the Libra Association and through a wallet service named Calibra. Libra is intended to be used to purchase products, send money internationally and make donations -- but it cannot launch in India, where cryptocurrency is essentially banned.

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"We're excited to have launched a successful pilot of WhatsApp Payments on the UPI standard, and we are looking forward to expanding it," Cathcart told CNET in an email. "WhatsApp Payments will make it as easy to pay someone on WhatsApp as it is to send a message."

The company is looking to launch WhatsApp Pay in other international markets, Business Today said. According to that report, WhatsApp last year said it had developed a payments data storing system that complied with the Reserve Bank of India's policies.

First published at 2:45 p.m. PT on July 25.
Updated on July 30 at 1:17 p.m. PT: adds statement from WhatsApp.