Facebook’s WhatsApp payments are available in Brazil as of Tuesday (May 4), WABetaInfo reported.The announcement comes about a year after a nearly identical announcement. But at that time, the Central Bank of Brazil had issues with the system, saying WhatsApp payments could hurt banks and local Brazilian payments, according to the report. So, the measure was put on ice.
Now, the payments are officially available, allowing some Brazilian users to send money to friends and family, although the feature does not yet let companies send money to businesses, the report stated.
Users can see if they can access the feature by opening a chat and tapping the share menu. According to the report, if one sees a payments action, the feature has been made available. Users who do not have the feature enabled will need a payment request from a contact that has does have it enabled.
The payment request is already a concept used to enable WhatsApp UPI payments in India. Payment requests come with zero costs, so people do not need to send money in order to activate them, the report stated.
More countries will become available to get WhatsApp payments, among them Mexico, the U.K. and Spain, according to the report.
Brazil gave the green light in March to include such payments to be sent over the Visa and Mastercard networks, PYMNTS reported.
WhatsApp did not initially intend to go into financial services in Brazil, but amid regulatory pressure, the company ditched its previous plan to ride the central bank licenses of Visa and Mastercard. Visa and Mastercard both had to get new permits to operate with WhatsApp.
The payments solution is Facebook’s attempt at keeping up with banks and FinTechs in allowing for quick digital transfers, with the company gaining approval after the central bank approved its own such system, Pix, in November.