WhatsApp shared the results of its pilot digital payments programme across 500 villages in the Indian states of Karnataka and Maharashtra.
The initiative is aimed at extending the reach of digital payments to smaller villages in India, with WhatsApp India Head Abhijit Bose saying that the company was “committed to help accelerate financial inclusion in the country” and that the programme would “onboard the next 500 million to the digital payments ecosystem.”
Known as Digital Payments Utsav, the pilot commenced on 15th October this year, and saw WhatsApp partner with 1Bridge to teach residents of Kyathanahalli village in Karnataka's Mandya district how to sign up for the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and use their account to make digital payments.
WhatsApp claims that users have been receptive to the programme, with small businesses in particular keen to add a “payments on WhatsApp” option for their customers. The firm has pledged major investment into payment services for the next six months in a bid to drive adoption in India, after in November being granted permission by the National Payments Corporation of India to double its payments service user base to 40 million.