To attract subscribers in the world’s second-largest market, WhatsApp, the most popular smartphone app in India, uses a popular cash-back offer. The Meta-owned instant messaging service is launching a campaign where users can get up to 11 Indian rupees (14 cents) if they send money to three different people on the app.
WhatsApp is trying to expand its mobile payments business in India. But despite starting to explore mobile payments in India as early as 2017, regulatory opposition has kept WhatsApp from aggressively extending its service.
Earlier this month, the National Payments Corporation of India, which handles the popular payments system UPI, approved WhatsApp to expand its payments service to 100 million users, up from 40 million. Customers who have used WhatsApp for 30 days or more and have registered for payments by uploading their bank account information will be eligible for the perk. In November last year, the awards were tried in India (if not before). WhatsApp Business users will not be eligible.
The business announced a rebate offer for a select group of WhatsApp users on its support page. If you are eligible for the promotion, you will see a banner within the app or a gift icon when sending money to an eligible recipient.
Cash-back incentives are not new in online marketing. Customers of Paytm and MobiKwik have been receiving cash-back for years for various app features. A year after launching Tez (now rebranded Google Pay) in India, Google has been rewarding customers with up to $40 to $50 to increase retention and engagement.
The cash-back could help WhatsApp enter India’s mobile payment market, currently dominated by Google and Walmart-backed PhonePe. Cash-back for QR code payments and money sent on collect requests would be unavailable. Users who send money to UPI IDs on other apps will also be disqualified.
According to a WhatsApp spokesperson, the firm is launching a program to gradually reward customers with cash-back incentives to help them use payments on WhatsApp. The business will continue to promote payments on WhatsApp as part of its broader aim to attract the next 500 million Indians into the digital payments ecosystem.