Here’s what it may mean for users

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India Post is coming to WhatsApp: Here's what it may mean for users
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New Delhi: The Center is exploring collaboration between Postal Payments Bank of India (IPPB) and messaging giant WhatsApp for a range of banking and allied services, people in the know told ET. A link with India Post will also be explored in the future, as the government seeks to spruce up the world’s largest postal delivery system with a host of new-age offerings.

A first rapprochement between the payment bank arm IPPB – launched in September 2018 – and the Meta-owned platform will offer customers services such as checking account balance and the ability to request a new bank account on the messaging platform, the partners said. sources.

The IPPB is a 100% state-owned public limited company established as a payment bank under the supervision of the Post Office Department.

“A pilot project will be conducted over the next 60 days with IPPB services such as balance enquiry, new account enquiry, change PIN and passwords being tested,” said the people quoted above.

A limited number of customers will also be allowed to request cash withdrawal and deposit, Aadhaar to Aadhaar transfer, update Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Aadhaar number and manage account beneficiaries, added the sources.

Also, in the future, possible tie-up with India Post for other services such as booking courier packages, opening salaries, savings and current accounts as well as paying salaries at the door following requests made via WhatsApp, will also be explored, according to the people. aware of the discussion on the subject.

WhatsApp did not respond to ET’s questions about whether the government had approached them for the pilot.

A senior government official, highlighting the challenges of providing such services in rural areas, said an important aspect was to ensure “that there is no fraudulent withdrawal by anyone other than the legitimate beneficiary of the account”.

At present, banking customers of India Post, as well as IPPB, access internet and mobile banking through the website and mobile app.

“The addition of WhatsApp will provide another, easier to use avenue for everyone,” the official said.

In early 2022, IPPB said it had passed the 50 million customer mark, making it one of the largest payment banking companies alongside companies like Payment and Airtel Bank of Payments.

Technological integration
Currently, businesses use WhatsApp’s business platform and an application programming interface (API) to launch their services on the instant messaging app, with the API customizable to specific requirements. Earlier in May, WhatsApp launched its cloud API, which allows businesses to customize the solutions they want to offer their customers.

If the pilot program between the IPPB and the messaging platform is deemed successful and the integration of the WhatsApp API is completed, the postal bank will also be able to respond to cash withdrawal and deposit requests.

This will be completed by the IPPB’s banking correspondents, in person, who will go to the client’s doorstep upon receipt of the request, said the official quoted above.

Since its launch, the IPPB has focused on providing banking and other financial services such as life insurance and group insurance, and payment for other third-party services such as the public provident fund (PPF). It leverages the wide reach of its 1.55 lakh post office branches to provide services with the help of a postman or Gramin Dak Sevak (GDS).

Officials aware of the thinking around the proposed tie-up said that eventually the plan is to add services such as insurance and PPF payments and even loans against recurring deposits on WhatsApp, depending on the response during the pilot.

The WhatsApp business platform API has also been integrated with other government services such as booking vaccination slots, uploading vaccination certificate, driving license, PAN card and Aadhaar among others.

ET first reported in March that the government chatbot, launched last year to book vaccination slots, would become a one-stop destination for accessing a host of official government documents.

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