WhatsApp is mulling an entry into the busy Indian mobile person-to-person payment market, marking the brand’s first move into money services, The Ken reported.

The company is reportedly developing a system based on the Reserve Bank of India’s United Payment Interface, which offers a common protocol for money transfers between banks.

In moving into India’s money transfer market, WhatsApp would be entering an already crowded market. A wide range of companies already offer similar facilities, including mobile wallet provider Paytm, the Government-backed BHIM app, retail-focused app MoneyonMobile, and Vodafone’s m-Pesa.

Samsung launched domestic money transfer in late March as part of its Samsung Pay launch in India, although its service is limited to a select number of its own handsets.

Although a competitive market, WhatsApp does already have scale in India with media reports estimating its user base at 200 million monthly active users.

Service expansion
A WhatsApp move into payments would follow an international industry trend towards using popular chat platforms to perform financial transactions.

Facebook, the brand’s parent company, already offers a similar service in the US on its Messenger app. In December, Facebook fuelled speculation it was planning a European launch of cash transfers when it applied for, and was granted, a payments licence covering the EU by the Central Bank of Ireland.

In Asia, the payment arm of popular Chinese messaging app WeChat is now one of the largest providers of mobile money services in the country, and chat app Line is one of the leading payment providers in Japan.