Daily Review: WhatsApp Takes Aim at $1 Trillion Digital Payments Market Opportunity in India

The dark horse of the financial world has a new aim – to shake up the digital payments industry in India. Compatible with UPI, and clocking 200 million Indians already using its messaging, Facebook’s WhatsApp has a reason to fight for its piece of the pie – Indian digital payments market is estimated to be worth $1 trillion within five years and has homegrown and global players jostling for dominance.

Pick #1. WhatsApp Could Shake Up Digital Payments in India

With more than 200 million Indians already using its messaging, WhatsApp is piloting a payment service that lets them transfer money to each other. While it’s still in a test phase and available only to a fraction of its Indian users, WhatsApp Pay is compatible with the country’s Unified Payments Interface.

At stake is an Indian digital payments market that Credit Suisse Group AG estimates could be worth $1 trillion within five years and has homegrown & global players jostling for dominance.

WhatsApp Pay could create a systemic shock, this could be another ‘demon’ moment for people-to-people payments, Sameer Nigam, Founder & CEO of PhonePe, the payments unit of Flipkart Online Services Pvt., said using a local term for demonetization. This doesn’t mean they’ll kill everyone; this will help add the next 100 million mobile payment users.

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Pick #2. Amazon Launches First Debit Card in Mexico E-Commerce Push

Amazon said that Mexico was the first country where it has offered a debit card, called Amazon Rechargeable, aiming to give customers a new method to shop on its website.

Easy-access debit cards could help pull people into the formal economy, especially if tied to shopping promotions, Actinver analyst Carlos Hermosillo Bernal said.

How do you bring formality to the informal sector? You have to make a bridge, he said.

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Pick #3. Ride-Hailing Giant Grab Gets Into Old-School Financial Services

After gaining success in ride-hailing, Grab Co-founder Anthony Tan is pushing his startup into a new challenge: catering to those under-served by traditional financial institutions in Southeast Asia.

I wake up every day thinking about how we are going to empower the next 100 million micro-entrepreneurs by 2020. I know it’s tough. People called us a taxi app. Dealing with competitors was impossible. But our job is to make impossible possible. – Tan told the Money20/20 conference in Singapore.

Only 27% of adults in Southeast Asia have a bank account. With more than 86 million downloads, Grab has a solid base of customers who can start using its app for their financial needs.

Tan is encouraging other financial institutions to join a new joint-venture with Credit Saison Co. called Grab Financial Services Asia. By using its data on customer behavior, the platform plans to provide loans to millions of people who are not served by traditional banks. Grab is also teaming up with insurer Chubb Ltd. to offer policies to its 2.6 million drivers.

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