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WhatsApp Said to Win Approval to Double Payments Offering to 40 Million Users in India

WhatsApp’s payment service is currently restricted to 20 million users in India.

WhatsApp has won regulatory approval to double the number of users on its payments service in India to 40 million, a source with direct information told Reuters on Friday. The company had requested that there should be no cap on users of its payment service in India.

Instead, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) this week told the organization it could double the user base to which it can offer its payment service – currently restricted to 20 million – the source said.

The source said the new cap would hinder the company’s growth prospects given that WhatsApp’s messenger service has more than 500 million users in India, the company’s biggest market.

It was not satisfactory when the new cap would become effective.

WhatsApp didn’t promptly respond to a request for comment, while the NPCI declined to comment.

WhatsApp competes with Alphabet’s Google Pay, SoftBank- and Ant Group-backed Paytm, and Walmart’s PhonePe in India’s crowded digital market.

The NPCI gave WhatsApp approval to start its payments service last year after the company spent years trying to comply with Indian regulations, including data storage norms that require all payments-related data to be stored locally.

WhatsApp has almost reached its user base of 20 million for payment services, said the source, who declined to be identified as the details are private.

Online exchanges, lending, and e-wallet services have been filling quickly in India, led by a government push to make the country’s cash-loving merchants and consumers adopt digital payments.