WhatsApp is in talks with multiple Indonesian digital payment firms to offer their mobile transaction services to enable digital payment through WhatsApp in the days ahead.
According to reports from key member of WhatsApp incorporation, talks are far advanced as they await regulatory approval from India, its biggest market by users that has been delayed due to local data storage rules.
But unlike in India where it plans to offer direct peer-to-peer payment services, WhatsApp will simply serve as a platform in Indonesia supporting payments via local digital wallets due to tough licensing regulations.
The Indonesia model could become a template for Whatsapp to adopt in other emerging markets to get around regulations on foreign players creating their own digital wallets.
WhatsApp is in advanced talks with several digital payments firms including ride hailer Go-Jek, mobile payments firm DANA, backed by China’s Ant Financial, and fintech startup OVO, which is owned by Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group and is also backed by ride hailing company Grab, the source said.
Deals with the three firms are expected to be finalised shortly, the people said, declining to be named as the talks are private.
WhatsApp has also approached state-owned Bank Mandiri, which operates a digital wallet, they said.
The Indonesia plan comes after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year that it would be rolling out WhatsApp payments to “some countries”.
“As Mark has said earlier this year… we are looking to bring digital payments to more countries,” a Facebook spokeswoman told Reuters.
The service was originally planned to start at the end of 2019, but two sources said they expected it to be delayed by several months, as WhatsApp would not want to launch in Indonesia before India.
One source said WhatsApp would need to get a nod from regulator Bank Indonesia before proceeding.