• Apps.WhatsApp will allow to make payments via mobile in Spain
  • Technology: WhatsApp develops a payment service to compete with Bizum

Since yesterday, Brazilians can send and receive money from their contacts without leaving the most used application on mobile phones in the country: WhatsApp. The popular messaging service, which is also the most widely used chat application in Spain, announced in February its intention to develop a complementary money transfer system between users that already works on other Facebook platforms.

The new service is not only useful for sending money to family and friends, but in Brazil it can also be used to buy in some small shops that already offer their menus and catalogs in the messaging app.

Although WhatsApp in Spain continues to focus on messaging as the main application, in Brazil and other territories Facebook has begun to turn it into something more similar to what WeChat or Line is in countries like China or Japan; that is, on a platform for digital life in which in addition to sending messages to friends, you can buy or perform all kinds of additional services.

Brazil, India or Indonesia, territories where WhatsApp is widely used, have become laboratories for this new strategy. The company had previously carried out tests of the payment service in these three territories previously, but only in Brazil has it been deployed, as yet, as a universal service for all users.

How does it work? It's very simple. In the WhatsApp application, in the message composition field, users now have a new icon to send money along with those that already exist to send a photo or location.

This new feature not only allows you to send money to a friend, but also ask for it. Transfers between users are free but Facebook merchants will charge a commission comparable to that of a credit card transaction . The accumulated balance of the accounts can be transferred to a bank account at no cost and filled with a transfer or a credit or debit card.

Although for the moment it is an independent system, WhatsApp payments are built on the Facebook Pay platform and this will allow, in the future, that a business can receive payments from its customers through various channels, such as Instagram, Facebook Messenger, the page Business official on Facebook or this messaging app.

Bizum, on the ropes

The arrival of this payment service in Spain could make things difficult for Bizum, the main personal money transfer app in our country, which has the support of several banks.

WhatsApp is incredibly popular in Spain, almost as much as in Brazil. It is actively used by 83% of mobile users, which will give Facebook a huge user base installed from the first day when it decides to deploy this service.

Bizum, which started operating in 2016, currently has five million registered users, a much lower figure than WhatsApp users, but it is accelerating its growth and is becoming a more popular alternative among the young population for, for example, sharing the expenses of a dinner or a common gift. In October of last year, the company claimed to have processed more than 53 million transactions in three years.

Facebook, in any case, is not the only company that has its sights set on this business. Verse, chaired by ex-Google director Bernardo Hernández, has also focused on this market. The company has just been acquired by Square, Jack Dorsey's digital payment company, also the founder of Twitter.

Apple has also shown an interest in this market, although for now it has restricted its activity to the US. And PayPal, in recent years, has simplified its interface and policy to try to also attract users looking to make personal transfers of small amounts of money to friends or family.

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