WhatsApp is set to disrupt Indian commerce, and put pressure on ticketing leader Paytm, through the launch of its new payment pilot programme in the country.

The Facebook-owned messaging application is testing a new feature that allows users to send digital payments, much like a photo, file or any other attachment.

India has the world’s largest number of WhatsApp users, with 200 million people using the service daily.

WhatsApp launched payments on trial for some of its users this month. It is expected to introduce the service to its entire user base soon. People are able to use the messaging application to transfer and receive money after linking their bank account to their mobile phone number.

Paytm has nearly 300 million registered users and stands to lose out if WhatsApp can push its payments service to the 230 million people who use its app frequently to send messages, pictures and other content.

Paytm sold more than 52 million movie and event tickets as its sales figures soared in 2017. The Indian ticketing and payments giant saw a six-fold growth from the previous year, as it continues to push its expansion in the ticketing sector.

According to the Live Mint website, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma alleged that WhatsApp was flouting rules and putting consumers at risk because it was skipping steps in the payments process. Sharma also alleged that WhatsApp was restricting access to other UPI-based platforms.

In response, the National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI), which owns UPI, said all UPI apps have to allow interoperability.

Image: Anton