Indian E-Commerce site FreeCharge has partnered with WhatsApp to provide payment services directly through the WhatsApp chat application. FreeCharge made the announcement on May 20th, 2016 that they were adding their new feature to the messaging app to enable payment services.
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WhatsApp users must have a certain setting approved for the feature to work properly and allow the service to function. With that certain setting enabled, they can begin to transfer money while they are chatting just by typing “FC” after the amount of money. “200FC,” for example, would transfer INR200.
While WhatsApp is the most used chatting app in India, a large majority of Indian users still trade exclusively in cash. Thus, FreeCharge never had any distinct way of taking advantage of WhatsApp’s user base. However, FreeCharge’s goal is to transition more people in the country from primarily cash payments to digital trading later in the future.
WhatsApp: The Future of Remittances?
WhatsApp is a the most popular messaging application in the world because it allows anyone with an Internet connection to send SMS messages or make international calls to anyone on the planet for free. This, of course, makes it immensely popular with migrants and their families who generally would have to pay a minute-by-minute rate to make the same international calls.
Now, with this integrated payment service, WhatsApp could be used to make remittance transferring just as easy, and much cheaper than it currently stands. Right now, remittance payments are transferred through financial institutions such as banks or via wire transfers, which are known to take days to process. Depending on the financial institutions used to facilitate remittance payments, there can be certain fees associated with them as well.
What it Could Mean for Bitcoin Adoption
If chat applications like WhatsApp succeed in making digital payments more popular in developing countries like India, then that could easily open up the door for more people to become introduced to Bitcoin.
With the growth of the Bitcoin remittance services, such a transition would be a huge gain for the cryptocurrency community. Likely the biggest barrier to what is probably one of Bitcoin’s most promising markets could be eliminated with people in poor countries turning to digital trade. The innate advantages of Bitcoin, such as faster and cheaper transactions would be a no-brainer for migrants trying to get as much money back their families as quick as possible.
Once people are used to, and feel safe making payments on a digital platform, then the knowledge of the benefits of doing remittance transfers in bitcoin will just become a matter of time.
What do you think of FreeCharge’s new payment service feature? Do you think it could effect future Bitcoin adoption and the easing of doing remittance payments? Let us know in the comments below!
Images Courtesy of WhatsApp, messageloud.com.