Users in Brazil who use WhatsApp, which is owned by Meta, can now pay small businesses for items and services directly from the app. A “small number of businesses” can use the payments-to-merchant feature right now, but more businesses will be able to use it in the coming months. This feature lets customers make purchases with Mastercard or Visa credit, debit, or prepaid cards “without having to go to a website, open another app, or pay in person.”
It has taken years for WhatsApp to start offering payment services in Brazil. This is because the chat app has been trying to offer both peer-to-peer transfers and payments to merchants. On the peer-to-peer side, WhatsApp’s payments tool came out in 2020, but the country’s central bank shut it down a few days later because it worried about competition. A year later, peer-to-peer payments were back, but as of early 2022, WhatsApp was still having trouble getting retailer payments off the ground.
TechCrunch says that companies could accept payments through WhatsApp before by using third-party payment services, but now the messaging service has built-in payment features.
This kind of payment service is important for WhatsApp because it is promoting itself more and more as a way to message and talk to companies as well as friends and family. It sounds a lot like Tencent’s WeChat, a Chinese service that has been called the “app for everything” because it has features for social media, payments, and instant messaging.
WhatsApp has added similar payment tools in India, which is its other big market. TechCrunch says that as of April of last year, the government had given it permission to offer payment services to 100 million users. With JioMart, also gives an “end-to-end shopping experience.”