November 6, 2020
Starting today, people across India will be able to send money through WhatsApp. This secure payments experience makes transferring money just as easy as sending a message. People can safely send money to a family member or share the cost of goods from a distance without having to exchange cash in person or going to a local bank.
WhatsApp designed our payments feature in partnership with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) using the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), an India-first, real-time payment system that enables transactions with over 160 supported banks. We’re excited to join India’s campaign to increase the ease and use of digital payments, which is helping expand financial inclusion in India.
To send money on WhatsApp in India, it’s necessary to have a bank account and debit card in India. WhatsApp sends instructions to banks, also known as payment service providers, that initiate the transfer of money via UPI between sender and receiver bank accounts. We’re delighted to be working with five leading banks in India: ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, the State Bank of India, and Jio Payments Bank. People can send money on WhatsApp to anyone using a UPI supported app.
In the long run, we believe the combination of WhatsApp and UPI’s unique architecture can help local organizations address some of the key challenges of our time, including increasing rural participation in the digital economy and delivering financial services to those who have never had access before.
Just like every feature in WhatsApp, payments is designed with a strong set of security and privacy principles, including entering a personal UPI PIN for each payment. Payments on WhatsApp is now available for people on the latest version of the iPhone and Android app.
Today, WhatsApp messages often live on our phones forever. While it’s great to hold onto memories from friends and family, most of what we send doesn’t need to be everlasting.
Our goal is make conversations on WhatsApp feel as close to in-person as possible, which means they shouldn't have to stick around forever. That’s why we’re excited to introduce the option to use disappearing messages on WhatsApp.
When disappearing messages is turned on, new messages sent to a chat will disappear after 7 days, helping the conversation feel lighter and more private. In a one-to-one chat, either person can turn disappearing messages on or off. In groups, admins will have the control.
We’re starting with 7 days because we think it offers peace of mind that conversations aren’t permanent, while remaining practical so you don’t forget what you were chatting about. The shopping list or store address you received a few days ago will be there while you need it, and then disappear after you don’t. You can read more, including how to enable disappearing messages here.
We hope people enjoy disappearing messages, which will be rolling out to users everywhere this month.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a real shift towards messaging apps for personal communication and increasingly people are relying on WhatsApp to get business done as well.
Many of the old ways in which people and businesses communicate are not working. While businesses spend billions of dollars annually managing phone calls, e-mails, and SMS, people do not want to wait on hold, get passed from person to person, or wonder if their messages were received.
The global pandemic has made clear that businesses need fast and efficient ways to service their customers and make sales. WhatsApp has become a simple and convenient resource in this time. More than 175 million people every day message a WhatsApp Business account. Our research shows people prefer to message a business to get help and they’re more likely to make a purchase when they can do so.
Though there is much more we need to build. For the last two years, we’ve provided the WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business API to help businesses of all sizes manage their chats. We’ve listened to feedback on what’s worked and believe WhatsApp can help make messaging the best way for consumers and businesses to connect. To that end we are increasing our investment in the following areas:
We know that most people will continue to use WhatsApp simply to communicate with friends and family, which is why we will keep developing great new features and protect people’s private conversations.
We believe these additional experiences on WhatsApp meet a real need for many people and businesses whether they are around the corner or across the world. We’re excited about what lies ahead and we'll gradually roll out these services in the months to come.
WhatsApp provides a special forwarded label to messages shared in chats that have been forwarded many times. These two arrows help people know when they’ve received a message that was not written by a close contact. Earlier this year, we set limits on how many times they can be sent at once to maintain the private nature of WhatsApp.
Today, we’re piloting a simple way to double check these messages by tapping a magnifying glass button in the chat. Providing a simple way to search messages that have been forwarded many times may help people find news results or other sources of information about content they have received.
This feature works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself.
Search the web is being rolled out starting today in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and US for those on the latest versions of WhatsApp for Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web.
As businesses across the world prepare to re-open and expand online, people need simple ways to get in touch with businesses to ask questions, get information or find something they might like to buy.
Today we support more than 50 million WhatsApp Business app users. To help them and the thousands of larger businesses on the WhatsApp Business API get discovered, we’re introducing new features to start a chat with a business on WhatsApp and see what goods and services they offer.
Starting a chat with a business using QR codes
QR codes are a digital front door that make opening a chat with a business as easy as possible. Previously when people came across an interesting business, they had to add its WhatsApp number to their contacts, one number at a time. Now, people simply can scan the QR code a business displays on its storefront, product packaging or receipt to initiate a chat.
For example, Ki Mindful Wearing, an activewear brand in Brazil that helped us test the feature, is placing QR codes on packages and product tags to invite customers to reach out for support on WhatsApp.
Scanning a QR code will open a chat with an optional pre-populated message created by the business to start the conversation. With the app’s messaging tools, businesses can quickly send back information such as their catalog to get the conversation going. To start using a QR code, businesses can follow these quick steps.
QR codes are available for businesses around the world using the WhatsApp Business app or WhatsApp Business API starting today.
Catalog sharing to discover what a business offers
Catalogs allow businesses to showcase and share the goods or services they offer, which can help them close sales. Since launching last year, catalogs have become a popular way for people to engage with a business on WhatsApp. In fact, more than 40 million people view a business catalog on WhatsApp each month.
To make it easier for people to discover products, we’re making catalogs and individual items available to be shared as links on websites, Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere. And if people want to share a catalog or item they find with friends or family, they can simply copy the link and send it on WhatsApp or other places as well.
Catalog links are available globally and businesses can learn how to share them here.
While the road ahead for businesses will be a long and challenging one as they adjust to a new reality, we look forward to supporting them.
WhatsApp is already used and loved by more than 2 billion people around the world. While our focus remains on providing a simple, reliable and private way for people to chat with friends and family - we also continue to push forward our product design to make sure WhatsApp remains the most useful way for anyone, anywhere to connect.
Today, we are excited to confirm some new features that are rolling out over the next few weeks:
These features are rolling out to users over the next few weeks, in the latest versions of WhatsApp.
We’re excited to announce that starting today we’re bringing digital payments to WhatsApp users in Brazil. People will be able to send money securely or make a purchase from a local business without leaving their chat.
The over 10 million small and micro businesses are the heartbeat of Brazil’s communities. 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.
In addition, we’re making sending money to loved ones as easy as sending a message, which could not be more important as people are physically distant from one another. Because payments on WhatsApp are enabled by Facebook Pay, in the future we want to make it possible for people and businesses to use the same card information across Facebook’s family of apps.
We have built payments with security in mind and a special six digit PIN or fingerprint will be required to prevent unauthorized transactions. To start, we will support debit or credit cards from Banco do Brasil, Nubank, and Sicredi on the Visa and Mastercard networks -and we are working with Cielo, the leading payments processor in Brazil. We have built an open model to welcome more partners in the future.
Sending money or making a purchase on WhatsApp is free for people. Businesses will pay a processing fee to receive customer payments, similar to what they may already pay when accepting a credit card transaction.
Payments on WhatsApp are beginning to roll out to people across Brazil beginning today and we look forward to bringing it to everyone as we go forward.
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many of us are isolated from friends and family. As a result, we see that people all over the world are turning to voice and video calling on WhatsApp more than ever before. Group calling has been particularly useful and our users have asked to connect with more people at once. Starting today, we’re doubling the number of participants you can have on a WhatsApp video or voice call from 4 to 8 people at a time.
Over the last month, people on average are spending over 15 billion minutes talking each day on WhatsApp calls, well above a typical day before the pandemic. And just like written messages, all those calls are protected with end-to-end encryption. We have built group calling in a way that makes it available for as many users as possible, including people on lower-end devices and slow network conditions.
We know people may want different ways to connect while they’re at home, which is why WhatsApp is also available on Portal — which many users have told us has been a great way to share their living room with family during quarantine.
To access the new, higher participant limit on WhatsApp calls, all participants in a call need to update to the latest version of WhatsApp available on iPhone or Android today. Ask your friends and family to update WhatsApp to try it out.
Billions of stickers are sent every day on WhatsApp helping people share private thoughts and expressions without even typing a word. Since we launched stickers 18 months ago, they have become one of the fastest growing ways people communicate on WhatsApp.
We’re excited to work with The World Health Organization to launch the “Together at Home” sticker pack that will help people stay connected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Stickers like these can be funny, educational and universal, breaking through language, age, and other barriers.
We hope people enjoy using these stickers to check-in on loved ones, particularly those that are feeling isolated, alone, and scared. This pack offers creative ways to remind people to wash their hands, maintain distance, exercise, and importantly to celebrate medical heroes as well as the personal heroes in all of our lives.
The “Together at Home” sticker pack is available now within WhatsApp, including with text localized for 9 languages - Arabic, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.
With billions of people unable to see their friends and family in person due to COVID-19, people are relying on WhatsApp more than ever to communicate. People are talking to doctors, teachers, and isolated loved ones via WhatsApp during this crisis. That’s why all your messages and calls on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted by default to give you a secure place for your most personal conversations.
Last year we introduced users to the concept of messages that have been forwarded many times. These messages are labeled with double arrows to indicate they did not originate from a close contact. In effect, these messages are less personal compared to typical messages sent on WhatsApp. We are now introducing a limit so that these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.
As a private messaging service, we’ve taken several steps over the years to help keep conversations intimate. For example, we previously set limits on forwarded messages to constrain virality. At the time, we saw a 25% decrease in total message forwards globally.
Is all forwarding bad? Certainly not. We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful. In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers. However, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.
In addition to this change, we are working directly with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information. Together these trusted authorities have sent hundreds of millions of messages directly to people requesting information and advice. You can learn more about these efforts, as well as how to submit potential myths, hoaxes and rumors to fact checking organizations, on our Coronavirus Information Hub.
We believe that now more than ever people need to be able to connect privately. Our teams are hard at work to keep WhatsApp running reliably during this unprecedented global crisis. We’ll continue to listen to your feedback and improve ways for people to share with each other on WhatsApp.