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Facebook considers adding payment option in Whatsapp Business for Latin America

Among the most interesting features of this app, are automated responses and order statistics. It is oriented to micro, small and medium enterprises, which do not have such intensive communication needs.

Facebook considers enabling the option to make payments through WhatsApp Business, the business version of its popular instant messaging application, in Mexico and Latin America, according to Pablo Bello, newly appointed director of Public Messaging Policies for Facebook at Latin America.

Inclusion, a reason for WhatsApp

“Inclusion is a reason for WhatsApp, inclusion in a sense of maximizing the possibility of communication, but by the way financial inclusion is also something we are working on globally”, Bello said in an interview with El Economista during the presentation of the alliance between Whatsapp Business and the startup accelerator Startup Mexico.

When asked if Facebook plans to add the option to make payments through WhatsApp Business in Mexico, the manager emphasized that in Latin America, where the banking population is below 50%, financial inclusion “is a necessity” and said that Facebook sees an opportunity to contribute to financial inclusion. “It’s an issue we are working on”, he said.

WhatsApp Business is a version of WhatsApp that, for free, allows a business to send and receive messages from its customers and suppliers within the messaging application. Among the most interesting features of this app, are automated responses and order statistics. It is oriented to micro, small and medium enterprises, which do not have such intensive communication needs.

Facebook and Whatsapp

In the same way that Facebook is the social network with more users in the world, Whatsapp is the instant messaging service with more subscribers. It is used by 1.5 billion people. In Mexico, about 76.56 million people use it if it is considered a universe of 88 million users connected to the internet in the country, according to calculations made with Hootsuite data.

In India, the largest WhatsApp market worldwide, the company said its payment service through WhatsApp Business would be ready by the end of 2019. Although it is not known when it will arrive in Mexico, the regulation that would correspond to it in case the product was launched in this market will depend on the scope of the application, whether it allows payments to be made directly through an electronic wallet or through a gateway of payments.

Most of the company’s efforts in the field of electronic payments have focused on payments between people (P2P) and not on business payments, a deficiency that has been pointed out in Whatsapp Business. Until now, Facebook has deployed its Messenger Payments service only in the United States, where it has a number of licenses to operate as a money transmitter. Last June, the company discontinued these types of payments in France and the United Kingdom.

Commitment to taxation

Bello is a veteran of information technology and telecommunications. He was Undersecretary of Telecommunications during the first administration of former President Michelle Bachelet. As of 2011 he became the executive director of the Inter-American Association of Telecommunications Companies (ASIET), which joins the most important telecommunications companies in the region.

According to the now manager of the social media giant, the main objective of his new position is “to contribute to making public policies the most appropriate so that more people can have secure communications”.

In this sense, Bello talked about the tax regulations of the different countries in which Facebook operates. He pointed out that the company “complies with and respects the regulation of all the countries in which it operates. In the case of Mexico it is evident and it is like that”, he said and added that Facebook is working on the implementation of how to make the tax contribution commitment in each of the countries in which it operates.

“Naturally, when it comes to services that are global, national regulations have certain challenges, but we, from Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has pointed out, what we want is to contribute to a broad dialogue in each of the countries in which it is built a framework that is intelligent, that allows the development of the digital ecosystem, but at the same time protects consumers, citizens, users and democracy”, he said.


Also published on Medium.

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