WhatsApp users in Brazil can now officially pay small businesses for goods and services from within the Meta-owned messaging app, the company has announced. The payments-to-merchant feature is available now for a “small number of businesses” but will be rolling out more widely in the coming months, allowing customers to make purchases using Mastercard or Visa credit, debit, or prepaid cards “without having to go to a website, open another app or pay in person.”
TechCrunch reports that businesses have previously been able to accept payments through WhatsApp by using third-party payments services, but now the messaging service offers payment functionality directly.
Payments services like this are important for WhatsApp as it increasingly pitches itself as a way to message and interact with businesses as well as simply communicate with friends and family. It’s a pitch that shares a lot of similarities with Tencent’s WeChat, the Chinese service that’s been described as the “app for everything” that offers social media and payment features in addition to instant messaging.