WhatsApp Tests its New Mobile Payments System in India

June 20, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

One of the biggest problems in any survey, study, or test is sample size. Without enough people involved, there’s a serious risk of statistical validity and the results of the test come into doubt. WhatsApp’s test of its new mobile payment systems likely won’t suffer from such issues, as it’s bringing in nearly one million people to test out the new platform.

WhatsApp has been working not only with several banks, but also the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and elements of the Indian government itself to step up its mobile payments operations, reports noted. While there isn’t a solid launch date yet for the system—current word is expecting a launch “in the next few weeks”—there are plenty of people eager for the shot to pay through WhatsApp.

The biggest concern so far, reports note, is security, which has long been a problem associated—rightly or wrongly—with mobile payments. Some concerns have especially focused on WhatsApp’s use of Facebook infrastructure to carry out its payment services. Company reps, however, have noted that Facebook doesn’t use WhatsApp transactional data commercially at all, which is good news if you believe Facebook.

A WhatsApp rep noted “Today, almost one million people are testing WhatsApp payments in India. The feedback has been very positive, and people enjoy the convenience of sending money as simple and securely as sending messages.”

Good news, of course, for WhatsApp; the fact that a million people are involved in the testing suggests that there likely won’t be any concerns about statistical validity in the study. Even on a percentage basis—there are just over 1.3 billion people in India at last report—you’re still talking about one in 1,300 for the whole country. Citing statistical validity issues with a sample size of about 0.1 percent of the country is almost churlish.

It will be worth seeing just what comes out of the early testing, though; right now, the reports seem positive, but with a million people taking a run at the system, will it be able to withstand the traffic? Or will we even hear about those who had problems to begin with?