WhatsApp eyes lending feature in India as Amazon rolls out Pay Later to tens of thousands of customers

Mobile

WhatsApp, which began testing its mobile payments feature in India two years ago, could offer at least one more financial service to people in its biggest market: credit.

In a filing with the local regulator in India, the company has listed credit as one of the areas it plans to explore in the country. The Facebook-owned service declared providing credit or loan as one of the “main objects to be pursued by it in the country” with the local regulator earlier this month.

At an event in Bangalore late last year, Abhijit Bose, WhatsApp’s head in India, said he believed that mobile payments market in India, which has attracted dozens of local and international firms in recent years, is still at a very early stage in India and eventually firms would look to move beyond just offering a way for people to send money to one another.

WhatsApp has yet to receive approval from New Delhi for a nationwide rollout of Pay in India. Local media reports claimed earlier this year that WhatsApp had started to expand Pay’s reach in the country in various phases.

Ajit Mohan, a Facebook VP and India head, told TechCrunch in an interview last week that only 1 million WhatsApp users in India, same as before, have access to its mobile payment service.

Dozens of payment services in India have expanded to credit, or online lending, in recent quarters as they look for a business model in the country. A number of firms including Paytm, India’s most-valued startup, and MobiKwik today offer small ticket credit to millions of users in India.

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