Mexico: Santander Bank to pilot Whatsapp payments

Mexico’s second largest bank, Santander will enable its customers to send money to Whatsapp contacts. The programme, which is expected to deepen financial inclusion is set to begin in May 2019. At inception, Santander bank customers will be able to send money transfers of upto MX$4,000 (about U$210) per day.

The announcement comes as Mexico’s central bank, Banxico, rolls out a QR code digital payment platform known as Cobro Digital (CoDi). Inclusive finance advocates criticise CoDi for not being available to the unbanked. Santander’s in-app Whatsapp payments could partly solve this problem as customers can send money to unbanked persons. Whatsapp is adopted used in Mexico, with about 91% of Mexicans using the app for private messaging.In-app payments are expected to increase money transfers and also enhance commerce. For starters, the Whatsapp payment solution will be available only in Mexico.

Over the years, Mexico has progressively regulated its payment systems to curb money laundering and stabilise the economy. Introduction and uptake of digital payment systems will increase choices for consumers especially for low value payments.