WhatsApp exploring potential of launching mobile payments in Indonesia

Instant messaging provider WhatsApp is discussing the potential of launching a mobile payments service with a selection of Indonesian digital payment firms, according to Reuters.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has also looked into launching a payments service in India, which is its biggest market in terms of users.

However, regulatory uncertainty has delayed its plans in India, with concerns being raised around local data storage rules.

WhatsApp hopes to give 100 million customers in Indonesia a platform that supports payments via local digital wallets.

The discussions by WhatsApp follow Facebook’s highly anticipated and heavily scrutinised planned launch of Libra, which would become its native cryptocurrency.

Unfortunately for Facebook, the US Senate didn’t warm to the idea of Libra as senators lamented the company for launching the project in Switzerland instead of the United States.

Concerns have also been raised as to whether the launch of Libra could destabilise the current financial system, with customers moving away from traditional banks entirely.

But it seems like a logical next step for WhatsApp, which is competing with the likes of WeChat and Alibaba’s Cloud Messaging service – both of which have payment systems.

There is also an argument that the emergence of digital payment systems could present a use case for cryptocurrencies, although price volatility needs to be smoothed out in order for it to be a viable option.

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