What you need to know
- Facebook is rolling out payments in Brazil on WhatsApp.
- The payments platform will be backed by Facebook Pay.
- WhatsApp's COO says the pandemic and ensuing physical distancing orders accelerated the rollout of the feature which was already planned.
Unlike WhatsApp, the Chinese messaging app WeChat is known for being able to do everything from text your friends to book your train tickets. Facebook's app hasn't quite gone that far yet, but it is positioning itself for a slice of the e-commerce market.
Facebook is now rolling out mobile payments in WhatsApp, allowing businesses and customers to carry out transactions with as much ease as sending a popcorn gif on the platform. It's coming to Brazil first after an extended test in India, though it's intended to go to other countries in the future.
Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch on Facebook:
Today we're starting to launch payments for people using WhatsApp in Brazil. We're making sending and receiving money as easy as sharing photos. We're also enabling small businesses to make sales right within WhatsApp. To do this, we're building on Facebook Pay, which provides a secure and consistent way to make payments across our apps. I want to thank all of our partners for making this possible. We're working with local banks, including Banco do Brasil, Nubank, Sicredi as well as Cielo, the leading payments processor for merchants in Brazil.
"WhatsApp is heavily used [in Brazil], both by people and small businesses," Matt Idema, chief operating officer of WhatsApp, told Reuters. While WhatsApp was already planning a payment rollout, already having one in India, the coronavirus pandemic accelerated plans for Brazil. "We can't have the kind of interactions with each other that we normally would, if you want to lend someone cash or if you want to buy something from a local business," Idema added.