Cover WhatsApp launches digital in-platform payments (Photo: via WhatsApp)

The popular Facebook-owned messaging platform announces the rollout of digital payments—but WhatsApp users in Asia will have to wait a beat before the functionality is available here

Popular messaging app WhatsApp announced yesterday that the company has debuted its hotly-anticipated in-app digital payments functionality—but users in Asia might have to wait a bit before we have access to it. According to a post published on the WhatsApp blog, digital payments have started rolling out in Brazil—allowing WhatsApp users in Brazil to securely send payments or make purchases without leaving the app. 

To activate digital payment (and receiving) functionality in WhatsApp, users in Brazil will need to link their accounts with a credit card (for payments) and/or a debit card (to receive funds). The Facebook-owned company is touting this new payment scheme as a way for small and micro-businesses in the country to easily accept non-cash as payment for goods and services—at no additional cost to the user or business.

"The over 10 million small and micro-businesses are the heartbeat of Brazil's communities," the blog post reads. "It's become second nature to send a zap to a business to get questions answered. Now in addition to viewing a store's catalogue, customers will be able to send payments for products as well. Making payments simple can help bring more businesses into the digital economy, opening up new opportunities for growth."

Last November, WhatsApp rolled out store catalogues in its Business app. According to the announcement: "Catalogues are a mobile storefront for businesses to showcase and share their goods so people can easily browse and discover something they would like to buy. Previously businesses had to send product photos one at a time and repeatedly provide information—now customers can see their full catalogue right within WhatsApp. This makes business owners look more professional and keeps customers engaged in the chat without having to visit a website."

Previously, according to a report in TechCrunch, WhatsApp tested a version of its digital payment platform with select users in India. That test pilot did not utilise the Facebook Pay platform, however; WhatsApp will use Facebook Pay to facilitate implementation in Brazil.

See also: 7 Items You Need To Bring On Your Next Holiday