Facebook rolled out a digital payments service through its messaging app WhatsApp in Brazil this month. The service—called WhatsApp Pay—is available to the app’s 120 million users in that country. This marks the first nationwide launch of payments on WhatsApp.
In a blog post on the announcement, officials said WhatsApp Pay will enable users to send money to one another. They can also make purchases and pay local merchants without leaving the chat platform. It is free for individual users, but merchants will pay 3.99 percent per transaction to accept payments via WhatsApp.
“The over 10 million small and micro businesses are the heartbeat of Brazil’s communities,” WhatsApp officials said in the post. “It’s become second nature to send a zap to a business to get questions answered. Now in addition to viewing a store’s catalog, customers will be able to send payments for products as well. Making payments simple can help bring more businesses into the digital economy, opening up new opportunities for growth.”
WhatsApp is working with Cielo, Brazil’s largest credit and debit card operator, to process the payments. Users can link a WhatsApp account to a Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card. Initial local partners include Banco do Brasil, Nubank and Sicredi.
“We have built an open model to welcome more partners in the future,” the announcement noted.
Brazil is WhatsApp’s second largest market behind India.
Many of Brazil’s small businesses already use WhatsApp as a marketing tool to answer questions or send catalogs, according to a Reuters interview with Matt Idema, chief operating officer of WhatsApp.