Less than a month ago, payment features were introduced on the Facebook-owned app WhatsApp. Brazil’s apex bank has suspended the app’s payment features. The apex bank told Mastercard and Visa to suspend processing money transfers on behalf of Facebook’s WhatsApp.
Over five million merchants worldwide utilize a business version of WhatsApp. Further, in countries such as India and Brazil, the messenger app serves as the main or only online presence for several retailers, especially those often run by a married couple.
If MasterCard and Visa fail to suspend money transfer processing for the app, they will incur administrative sanctions and pay huge fines. According to the central bank of Brazil on its website, it decided to suspend WhatsApp payment features towards the preservation of an adequate competitive environment that ensures the functioning of a payment system that’s interchangeable, fast, secure, transparent, open and cheap payment system.
In addition, the decision will help the apex bank in assessing any risks to the proper functioning of the Brazilian Payments System and verify compliance. The apex bank said without telling WhatsApp to go ahead, such a service could bring about irreparable damage to the system, especially what concerns competition, efficiency and data privacy.
In Bloomberg’s report, a WhatsApp spokesperson said the aim of WhatsApp is to offer digital payments to all WhatsApp users in Brazil using an open model and they are determined to keep working with local partners and the Central Bank to make this possible.
In spite of the decision to suspend the app’s payment feature, Brazil’s apex bank likewise noted the likelihood of integrating the payments feature with its proposed instant-payment system known as PIX.
The WhatsApp’s spokesperson talked about their efforts to support PIX: 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.