WhatsApp Payments: pros, cons, and how to setup and use

WhatsApp payments feature

Indian users of WhatsApp have one more reason to rejoice: you can now send and receive money to your friends and family directly from the app. WhatsApp Payments is based on India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) protocol. And, it looks like WhatsApp has tied up with ICICI Bank as the payments partner.

We’ve set it up and used it, and find it extremely easy to use. Here’s a detailed guide on how to set up WhatsApp Payments on your phone. 

(Also read: WhatsApp sucks, Telegram rocks)

WhatsApp Payments: how to get it on your phone?

While Payments will eventually reach every WhatsApp user, currently it is being sent out in a phased roll out. Some lucky users – like this writer – have already received the update. However, not everyone is lucky. Fret not though, there is a workaround to get WhatsApp Payments on your phone. All you need to do is register to the WhatsApp Beta program. Our friends at NDTV Gadgets have detailed guides on how to setup WhatsApp Beta on both Android and iOS

P.S. This workaround didn’t work for all WhatsApp Beta users in our office. Therefore, it is clearly a hit or a miss. 

P.P.S. Oh wait! Our friend showed us a trick. Just try making a payment to someone who doesn’t have Payments option by default. WhatsApp will enable Payments option for them! Thanks for the H/T Hardik Shah. 

WhatsApp payments

WhatsApp Payments: how to setup

  1. If you are not already using WhatsApp, download the app from Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store. Link your number to the app and start sending instant messages to the contacts in your list.
  2. Once you are registered to use WhatsApp, go to the Settings page of the app and enter the Payments tab.  
  3. You will see a page like the one below. Hit ‘Accept and Continue.’

     WhatsApp payments 2

  4. Now, select the ‘Add New Account’ option.
  5. Select the bank account linked to yourUPI. It is a MUST that your bank account is linked to UPI. In case you haven’t linked it yet, you can do that through WhatsApp itself. Once you link UPI, it will also create a UPI Pin for you which you can use across other payment apps like BHIM and PhonePe as well. 

     

  6. Once you select the bank account, your WhatsApp Payments is now set up completely. 

    WhatsApp Payments complete

WhatsApp Payments: how to use it

Now that you have WhatsApp Payments set up, it is easy to use it. Here is a simple four-step process on how you can start sending money directly to anyone’s bank account. 

  1. Select the contact. 
  2. Hit the ‘Payment’ option from the attachments menu. 

    WhatsApp Payments attachment

  3. Type how much money you want to send to your friend and enter your UPI pin to validate the payment. 

     

  4. Voila! Your friend’s account instantly receives the money. 

WhatsApp Payments: advantages

There is no doubt that WhatsApp Payments is extremely new and limited in functionality in its current state. All you can do is send or receive money at the moment. In comparison, apps like PhonePe and PayTM also allow you to make payments for services and products. That said, there are obvious advantages of using WhatsApp.

  1. Almost everyone — from your grandfather to your local Kirana shop owner — is on WhatsApp. Therefore, the reach is massive and one can easily convince anyone to sign up for the Payments on an app they already trust.
  2. Its ease-of-use could also propel the adoption for WhatsApp Payments.
     WhatsApp Payments iOS

WhatsApp Payments: disadvantages

The one obvious downfall of WhatsApp Payments is the fact that gullible users can fall prey to social engineering. What this means is that forward messages like — “Send money to XYZ account to receive blessings from Babaji. Share it with more friends for more blessings” —could start spamming your WhatsApp inbox. 

Also, WhatsApp Payments is merely a payment option inside a messaging app, and apps like PayTM, PhonePe, Google Tez are all feature-rich wallets. 

WhatsApp Payments: a promising future

Evidently, WhatsApp Payments has a great, great future despite the minor inconvenience of spam messages (or, is it?). What do you guys think of WhatsApp Payments? Have you activated it? Did you find this guide useful? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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Ershad Kaleebullah
ershad.kaleebullah@u2opiamobile.com

When Ershad isn't writing, he spends time killing virtual zombies on his PS4. Having worked with a slew of renowned publications like PCWorld, Channelworld, CIO, NDTV Gadgets (now Gadgets360), MySmartPrice, The Inquistr, and 91Mobiles, Ershad brings a whole world of experience to Mr. Phone. He is trying hard to convert all the team members into Apple fans but is facing a lot of resistance. Is anyone willing to help?