Brazil suspends WhatsApp's mobile payments

WhatsApp (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp has been ordered to stop processing mobile payments in Brazil.
  • The move comes just a week after the company launched WhatsApp Pay.
  • Brazil's Central Bank says it'll run a risk assessment on WhatsApp Pay in the meantime.

WhatsApp launched mobile payments in Brazil after a long testing period in India, but they have already hit a wall -— and it's nothing technical. The country's Central Bank has ordered a suspension of mobile payments via WhatApp, including reaching out to Visa and MasterCard to request they stop processing payments for the service or face fines (via Bloomberg).

The move reportedly came as a surprise to Facebook who had been in contact with the Central Bank before launch. The suspension is reportedly necessary to buy financial authorities' time to run a risk assessment on Facebook's payment system, focusing on "competition, efficiency and data privacy."

Commenting to Bloomberg, a Facebook spokesperson said:

"Our goal is to provide digital payments to all WhatsApp users in Brazil using an open model and we will continue to work with local partners and the Central Bank to make this possible. In addition, we support the Central Bank's PIX project on digital payments and together with our partners are committed to work with the Central Bank to integrate our systems when PIX [Brazil's proposed instant-payment system] becomes available."

Facebook is but the latest tech company to jump on the mobile payments wave. Apple and Google have been working on their own eponymous payment systems for years, and Samsung recently just debuted its own debit card.

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