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[Update: Suspended] WhatsApp launches in-app digital payments service, starting with Brazil

We’ve recently seen that WhatsApp is slowly working on a number of new features for the cross-platform messenger, but the Facebook-owned firm has now unveiled in-app digital payments.

[Update 06/24]: So just over a week after launching in-app mobile payments, WhatsApp has suspended payments in Brazil after the country’s central bank ordered Visa and Mastercard to shut down the project due to anti-competitiveness.

That has put the payment platform into doubt, with Brazilian outlet Folha de Sao Paulo suggesting that WhatsApp will have to appeal against the decision at the Administrative Council for Economic Defence (via TNW).

In a statement, a WhatsApp spokesperson has said that the mobile messaging company will continue to work with the central bank to resolve this situation:

Our goal is to provide digital payments to all WhatsApp users in Brazil using an open model and we will continue to work with local partners and the Central Bank to make this possible. In addition, we support the Central Bank’s PIX project on digital payments and together with our partners are committed to work with the Central Bank to integrate our systems when PIX becomes available.

So, until WhatsApp is able to resolve the roadblocks in its first (and second-biggest) market, we might have to wait a while longer to see in-app payments come to other regions.

The move was confirmed in an official WhatsApp blog post, with support for in-app payments that will utilize Facebook Pay to handle payments between contacts and even businesses. However, it will only be available in Brazil for now. A wider rollout is expected over the coming months.

It does come with some caveats though, as consumers will be able to use the digital payment platform for free. Businesses meanwhile will be charged a 3.99% fee for the processing of payments received using WhatsApp digital payments.

Because payments on WhatsApp are enabled by Facebook Pay, in the future we want to make it possible for people and businesses to use the same card information across Facebook’s family of apps.

We have built payments with security in mind and a special six digit PIN or fingerprint will be required to prevent unauthorized transactions. To start, we will support debit or credit cards from Banco do Brasil, Nubank, and Sicredi on the Visa and Mastercard networks -and we are working with Cielo, the leading payments processor in Brazil. We have built an open model to welcome more partners in the future.

Payments will be secured with a six-digit PIN or via fingerprint authentication, which will help reduce the risk of unauthorized payments when using WhatsApp to start a transaction. You will also be able to request payments from contacts and even clients — which might prove particularly useful.

Sending money or making a purchase on WhatsApp is free for people. Businesses will pay a processing fee to receive customer payments, similar to what they may already pay when accepting a credit card transaction.

Payments on WhatsApp are beginning to roll out to people across Brazil beginning today and we look forward to bringing it to everyone as we go forward.

The payment option has already begun rolling out in Brazil, with more markets expected in the future.

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Avatar for Damien Wilde Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter @iamdamienwilde. Email

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