WhatsApp appears to be working on adding identity verification for WhatsApp Pay users
WhatsApp launched a service earlier this year called WhatsApp Pay with relatively minimal requirements to allow users to transfer and receive payments. However, codes found in a recent beta build suggest that the Facebook-owned tech company might be considering adding an identity verification process in the future.
WhatsApp beta v188.8.131.52 was released a few days ago and XDA Developers found new code strings hinting at a possible verification process for WhatsApp Pay. One of the relevant code strings includes a message that reads: “Your identity couldn't be verified. Try uploading the documents again.” Another code string is also designed to display the prompt: “Verify your identity to continue using payments on Whatsapp.”
Currently, the WhatsApp Pay service is only widely available in India. One of the few requirements to receive and transfer money from the app is by using a verified mobile number linked to a legitimate bank account. Other than that, the app does not ask users to submit identification documents to use WhatsApp Pay.
In a statement to the publication, WhatsApp India confirmed that mobile numbers linked to bank accounts remain the only requirement to use WhatsApp Pay. “Payments on WhatsApp, is approved by National Payments Corporation of India and powered by BHIM UPI that enables transactions with legitimate banking partners,” the company said. “Like other UPI payment applications, a user needs to ensure that the mobile number is the same as the one linked to their bank account,to start sending and receiving money, through payments on WhatsApp.”
However, WhatsApp India did not directly comment on whether or not it is working on expanding the verification process by requiring IDs. The same report speculates the identification documents could be in the works because the company might be planning to launch WhatsApp Pay in a region where it would be required. The verification process might also be in development solely for businesses or for a potential wallet feature. In any of these cases, WhatsApp India users might still be able to receive and transfer money with just a verified mobile number.
As mentioned, the code strings related to a potential WhatsApp Pay identity verification requirement are still in beta. While it is most likely in development, there is also a chance for WhatsApp to opt not to officially launch it on the app’s public build.