Tech This Week | The UPI payments space is in for its biggest shift yet

This article was first published in Deccan Chronicle. Views are personal.

Around 10 years ago, back when the Blackberry Messenger (BBM) was still prevalent, I remember trying to persuade a friend of mine to get himself a Blackberry phone so that we could chat on BBM. He countered me saying that WhatsApp (emerging at the time) would overtake BBM soon enough. It was free, worked across multiple platforms and did not require people to be on Blackberry. At the time, I could not take him seriously. BBM was here to stay. I have never been more wrong.

Earlier this week, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) dismissed an anti-trust case against WhatsApp Pay. WhatsApp has been trying to launch a payments feature for a while now, and it is currently in beta, shared with a small share of users. The order by CCI is forty-one pages long, but the basis for the dismissal is that UPI payments apps are an evolving market. Currently, when the feature is in beta, it is implausible to assume that “WhatsApp Pay will automatically get a considerable market share based on pre-installation”.