WhatsApp has announced that it will now allow users to pay businesses directly through its chat feature in Brazil. This move means that shoppers in the country can now enjoy an end-to-end shopping experience within the app, from discovery to payments. This latest feature will unlock the merchant payment market in Brazil for WhatsApp, as the company can now roll out the ability for users to “pay local businesses right in a WhatsApp chat.” The company claims that this feature will be a game-changer for people and small businesses looking to buy and sell on WhatsApp without having to go to a website, open another app, or pay in person.
Previously, users could only make peer-to-peer transactions through WhatsApp Pay in Brazil, as the company was unable to roll out the ability to make purchases through merchants due to regulatory restrictions. The only option for shops was to use a third-party payment service to generate a payment link and include it in a WhatsApp message, which was not a seamless experience for either the merchant or the shopper.
WhatsApp has not disclosed how many small businesses are on the app currently, but it did announce in 2020 that more than 5 million businesses in Brazil use WhatsApp. Last year, the company rolled out a Dictionary feature in Brazil that allowed users to search for different kinds of businesses, ranging from food and drink to travel. By combining this feature with the ability to pay businesses directly, users can now search for different businesses, add items they want to buy, and pay the merchant within the app.
WhatsApp has stated that users can make payments through Mastercard and Visa debit, credit, and pre-paid cards issued by participating banks. To accept these payments, businesses can link a service provider like Cielo, Mercado Pago, or Rede to their account, as these companies had already built the technical infrastructure for peer-to-peer payment over WhatsApp in Brazil.
This move comes at the right time for Meta, WhatsApp’s parent company, as it declared in February that this is a “year of efficiency,” signaling that the company would concentrate on cutting costs and generating more revenue. The launch of merchant payment services in Brazil, with over 120 million WhatsApp users, aligns with this focus.
Brazilian consumers have increasingly adopted digital payments in recent years. By last year, more than 124 million people were using Pix, an instant payment platform managed by the country’s central bank.
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