WhatsApp could soon be asking millions of its users to provide identity verification. A recent beta release for the market-leading chat app could indicate that users looking to take advantage of the WhatsApp Payments feature may soon be required to submit documents that verify their identity. WhatsApp Payments, as the name suggests, is a money transferring tool that lets WhatsApp users transfer money to contacts and receive funds as well.
WhatsApp Payments first launched in Brazil last year and was later rolled out in other regions such as India. When a user tries to set up WhatsApp Payments in India they currently have to verify their identity with the phone number linked to their bank account.
While in Brazil WhatsApp Payments uses Facebook Pay to validate credit or debit card information. No personal documentation is needed to be submitted to verify a WhatsApp user's identity. But, as XDA Developers pointed out, the recent v184.108.40.206 beta release could show this is all about to change soon.
Code in the beta release could suggest some WhatsApp users will need to submit identity verification documents to use the payments feature in the future. It's not clear why WhatsApp would need such documents to be provided to activate the Payments feature.
It could be because WhatsApp is gearing up to launch Payments in another region where those type of documents need to be submitted as a legal requirement.
Alternatively, these documents might just be required for businesses that use WhatsApp Payments to receive funds.
Another possible reason for this new requirement could be WhatsApp is looking to branch out and create a WhatsApp Wallet feature.
Other unified payments interface (UPI) apps such as Google Pay don't require any documents to be submitted for money to be transferred.
But other wallet apps, such as leading Indian finance app PayTM, do.
So this could alternatively be a sign that WhatsApp is looking to branch out and add a wallet feature to the chat app, which would allow users to pay for online purchases and maybe even contactless payments in real-life with WhatsApp.
The market-leading messenger is yet to make an official announcement about any potential changes to the WhatsApp Payments feature, or requirements for using it.
At the time of writing, WhatsApp Payments is only available in India and Brazil. But the chat-app is looking to bring this feature to other regions in the future.
Written by David Minister
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