WhatsApp switched-on mobile payments in Brazil, the first market with full nationwide availability, as parent Facebook reiterated a goal of providing the service across its global footprint.
The WhatsApp payments service offers small peer-to-peer cash transfers and direct retail remittances through the messaging platform, with the company targeting the latter element at Brazil’s 10 million small businesses.
In a statement, Facebook said the WhatsApp service supported cards issued by a range of banks and financial services providers in Brazil, and was built on the Facebook Pay platform, meaning users will eventually be able to conduct transactions on its other apps.
The launch follows several bullish statements by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlining ambitions to move into mobile payments, initially through WhatsApp.
In its statement on Brazil, the company said following this launch it looked forward to bringing the service “to everyone”.
Brazil becoming the first market for WhatsApp payments is somewhat surprising given the product was tested in India for almost two-and-a-half years without commercial launch.
Following regulatory issues the India service was finally approved by financial authorities with conditions in February. However, just when it looked like full launch was imminent, reports emerged claiming a complaint was being assessed by the country’s competition authority on concerns the move would abuse its market position.
Elsewhere, Facebook was rumoured to be hunting for partners to support the service in Indonesia and, earlier this month, invested in local wallet company GoPay’s parent GoJek.