WhatsApp is finally allowed to have 100 million users for its payments service

WhatsApp is finally allowed to have 100 million users for its payments service
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  • NPCI has finally allowed WhatsApp to have 100 million users for its payments feature.
  • The company was only allowed to onboard 10 million users when it started in February 2020.
  • The major reason behind the restrictions were data localisation and Whatsapp ability to manage something as sensitive as digital payments.
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), a state-run body that manages unified payments interface (UPI) and several other payment systems, has allowed WhatsApp to onboard upto 100 million users on its payments interface.

Earlier, WhatsApp was only allowed to roll out these services to 40 million users.

WhatsApp is currently the only UPI-based payments app that has been allowed to function in a limited manner. The company currently processes over 2 million monthly transactions, whereas its counterparts like Google Pay and PhonePe have already crossed a billion mark several months ago.

WhatsApp has been working on the digital payments feature for at least four years now. In 2018, the company had confirmed that one million users were testing out WhatsApp Payments. The company was then working with the NPCI and banks to expand the services to more users.

Before that could happen, the Indian government started questioning WhatsApp over data localisation policy and the company had to shut down the digital payments for a brief period. It resumed the beta test once again in July 2019 with the hope to formally launch the digital payments feature by the end of the same year.


It was then hit by the Pegasus spyware attack, where the spyware was used to spy on over 1,000 eminent personalities across the globe through WhatsApp. In India alone, 121 Whatsapp users were being spied on using this spyware. These users included ministers, opposition leaders, political strategists, tacticians, journalists, activists, Supreme Court judges and more.

The pegasus spyware attack made the Indian government question WhatsApp’s ability to handle something as sensitive as digital payments, where users’ money is involved.

After a lot of back and forth, WhatsApp was finally allowed to launch its payments feature in February 2020 but in a phased manner. The company was initially only allowed to offer this service to 10 million users and the limit was doubled to 20 million users in November 2020.

The limit was later revised to 40 million users in November 2021.

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