WhatsApp gets the go-ahead for instant payments

WhatsApp has been working on an instant payment feature (Getty)

WhatsApp users in Brazil could soon be using the app to send each other money.

The Facebook-owned messaging app received permission for in-app money transfers from the country’s central bank this week.

The feature will allow users to transfer money using existing Visa and Mastercard networks.

WhatsApp originally launched a version of this peer-to-peer payment system last summer, but it quickly fell foul of local regulators, who said it threatened competition.

The company had hoped Visa and Mastercard’s existing licenses would stop it from having to seek approval as a payments initiator. But both finance firms have since had to apply for extra permits to be used in the messaging app. 

The feature is not yet approved for in-store payments.

A similar feature launched in India in November.

It’s not yet clear if or when it will be rolled out to users in the UK, but Metro.co.uk has approached WhatsApp for comment. 

UK smartphone users can already transfer money to friends and family through personal finance apps like Revolut and Monzo.

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WhatsApp said in a statement Thursday: ‘We welcome the central bank’s decision today to approve our payments initiator license request and are making the final preparations to have payments on WhatsApp available in Brazil as soon as possible. 

‘Now, more than ever, safe, secure, and convenient digital payments offer a vital path to deliver money quickly to people in need and help businesses with their economic recovery.’

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