Messaging platform WhatsApp is planning to offer credit, insurance and pension services to users in rural India to boost the country’s financial inclusion. The platform will partner with more banks and financial institutions in the country to promote access to financial products, as well as support pilots of potential solutions that could help distribute financial products in the country.
Speaking at the Global Fintech Fest conference, WhatsApp’s head of India Abhijit Bose said the App has been working with banks like ICICI, Kotak Mahindra and HDFC for the past year to bring financial services to India’s unbanked. The collaboration has already proven fruitful for banks, with ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra attracting over 3 million new users. WhatsApp is now planning to bring more partners to offer insurance, micro-pensions and credit to low wage workers and the informal sector between now and end of 2021.
Abhijit said that the initial pilots would entail scaling digital banking, promoting access to essential financial services and promote MSME digitizations. The pilot solutions will belong to partners, where the platform will use venture models to invest and scale pilot projects to deliver results.
“Based on the results, we will co-invest and scale. Even a small conversion of the demand will translate into an infusion of significant savings into the financial system. Over the next two years, we are committing to opening in entrepreneurial ways we never have before. We will launch many experiments,” Techcrunch quotes Bose.
WhatsApp Still eyes India’s Small Businesses.
Bose is still following prospects of launching WhatsApp pay in India, with the company saying that they expect final approval for mass roll out soon. The mobile money transfer service piloted in the country in 2018, eyeing over 400 million users in India who would use the messaging service to make payments with peers and small businesses. However, the company is facing regulatory issues such as concerns of privacy and the security of sensitive data of users.
In June, the company launched its payment platform in Brazil, allowing users to send money to family and friends as well as pay businesses from chats. Users would link they credit or debit cards with their messaging accounts, and conduct transactions secured using a six-digit pin or a fingerprint. The country’s central bank, however, suspended the service citing concerns on competition and privacy.