19 April 2018
Facebook has reportedly started beta testing mobile payments feature in India. The report comes from Factor Daily stating that a handful of users have started to see the payments option in their respective Messenger app accounts. At the moment, the feature is said to be restricted to prepaid recharges for calls and data services.
It mentions that Facebook payments accessible via the latest beta version but as said above, one will need to be among the lucky few selected at random. It was initially launched in the United States followed by expansion to the United Kingdom and France. Even though the team is currently working only on prepaid recharges, there are plans of expanding it further to the Facebook Marketplace and allow big businesses to do transactions.
If the testing goes as planned by Facebook, companies are likely to be able to allow their customers to place orders directly from the Messenger. It goes without saying that buyers will need to connect with the business beforehand. However, the report makes it clear that Facebook is actually considering all sorts of use cases to find the best possible way to ensure the success of the feature.
It is worth mentioning that the online payment market is quite competitive in India. There are already a number of players in the market like Google Tez, Amazon Pay, Paytm, PhonePe, and Freecharge. Even Facebook-owned WhatsApp is testing peer-to-peer payments in the country which are powered by the UPI platform.
Lastly, Facebook is said to be working on hiring new talent to work on its mobile payments feature in India. This makes sense considering that India is considered to be a huge market for online payments. This also became evident from the success Paytm had during the demonetization phase in 2016.