Facebook’s WhatsApp messenger has appointed Manesh Mahatme as the director of WhatsApp payments in India, U.S. News & World Report reported on Monday (June 28). WhatsApp is aiming to scale its payments operations in India, which is its biggest market by users.
In his new post, Mahatme will be looking to improve user experience and expand the company’s operations. Previously a senior executive at Amazon, Mahatme headed the product and engineering teams for Amazon Pay in India.
WhatsApp was recently approved to launch a payments division in India capped at 20 million users, per the news outlet. The messaging platform indicated that it has 500 million users.
India’s Jio Platforms, a telecommunications company based in Mumbai, is extending payment services to its users via Whatsapp following a Facebook deal that closed last year. The deal enables Whatsapp to offer payments services to mom-and-pop-stores.
WhatsApp also is advancing its collaboration with banks in a move to extend pension and insurance services to its users, according to payments veteran Abhijit Bose.
Mahatme’s appointment was first reported in March as online messaging, shopping and payments surpassed record high across India and many of the regions worldwide. His appointment also comes at a time when digital payments in the country are forecast to hit $135 billion in the two years, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Indian industry association ASSOCHAM, per PYMNTS.
Facebook’s Whatsapp got preliminary approval in November 2020 for a payments unit following a trial run across two years, according to National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The ruling is a major event for the company since its early days when it ran a pilot of its payments service in the country in 201 with 1 million users.