WhatsApp’s Brazilian payment service suspended

A mere 10 days after its introduction into the region, Brazil’s central bank has taken the decision to suspend WhatsApp’s digital payment service in the country. 

The bank underlined that it didn’t have an adequate period to assess the service prior to its integration into the country’s payment ecosystem. 

Offering a statement, Brazil’s central bank emphasised it was taking the decision as it sought to “preserve an adequate competitive environment” in the mobile payments space as well as a full “functioning of a payment system that’s interchangeable, fast, secure, transparent, open and cheap”.

The decision will be seen as a setback for WhatsApp with the firm’s entry into Brazil viewed as something of a key moment for the growth of the operation when it comes to payments. 

WhatsApp had sought to boost efficiency in the region through the enabling of Facebook Pay, at a time when social distancing had elevated the importance of digital payments. 

Issuing its update at the time of launch, WhatsApp stated: “We have built payments with security in mind and a special six-digit PIN or fingerprint will be required to prevent unauthorized transactions. To start, we will support debit or credit cards from Banco do Brasil, Nubank, and Sicredi on the Visa and Mastercard networks -and we are working with Cielo, the leading payments processor in Brazil. We have built an open model to welcome more partners in the future.”