Meta has announced another significant expansion of its messaging payment solutions, after striking a deal with Stripe to facilitate in-stream payments on WhatsApp in Singapore.
The new arrangement will expand WhatsApp’s business capacity in the fast-growing SEA region, by enabling thousands more businesses to facilitate direct payments within a chat thread.
As per Stripe:
“The new feature is built on Stripe Connect and Stripe Checkout, and enables Singapore customers and businesses to buy and sell directly in WhatsApp without having to go to a website, open another app, or pay in person. Supported payment methods include credit and debit cards, and PayNow, a real-time payment system popular in Singapore.”
PayNow has become a key payment facilitator in the region, with over 80% of residents and businesses actively using the option. The integration with WhatsApp will open up significant opportunity for the messaging platform to become a bigger facilitator of business transactions among its 4.56 million Singaporean users – which equates to over 80% of the nation’s population being active in the app.
Meta has been working on in-stream payment functionality for years, partnering with various providers in order to meet the requirements of local authorities, and expand the capacity on WhatsApp, in particular, in key markets.
When Meta originally purchased WhatsApp for $19 billion back in 2014, a central element of its monetization plans for the app revolved around the expansion of messaging commerce, after seeing the popularity of platforms like WeChat in China, which has become an essential utility for millions of Chinese users.
Meta made a push to expand the utility of Messenger in 2016, with the introduction of various new functionalities and options. But Western users, thus far, haven’t shown much interest in using messaging apps beyond their core purpose, which has hastened its plans for a broader messaging business push.
Meta then redirected its attention to developing the same tools in markets like India and Brazil, where it might be able to better integrate messaging commerce into rising usage trends. Those pushes have been slowed by local regulatory requirements, but Meta is now making inroads, with in-stream payments gradually expanding in each market.
And now, it can also add Singapore to that list.
It’s slow going, and Meta would have liked to have seen more of a return on its WhatsApp investment by now, but these new functions could facilitate a range of new possibilities for business in the app.
And with Western users also increasingly using messaging apps for interaction, as opposed to posting to social apps, there could well be potential in these regions as well, if it can clear the various hurdles required to facilitate in-stream payments.
Which is why its expansion into more markets is significant – because it not only builds on Meta’s immediate market potential, but it also provides more examples to show that it can be trusted in managing this element.
The option to enable payments on WhatsApp in Singapore will be made available to all local businesses using the WhatsApp Business Platform over the coming months.