Nedbank, based in South Africa, unveiled a service called Money Message that lets customers send money through the ultra-popular WhatsApp messaging app.
The Money Message website, which contains minimal references to Nedbank, lists four main uses for the new functionality. They are: create bills and send them to customers in WhatsApp; link bank accounts to the service to receive payments; make payments "through a secure Masterpass connection;" and make payments by scanning QR codes in WhatsApp.
To begin using the service, a future recipient or sender of money starts by registering through WhatsApp, according to a Q-and-A posted on the Money Message website.
To use the service, a WhatsApp account-holder will need to upload a photo of himself or herself. The reason, according to Nedbank: "To help prevent identity theft, we need to verify the person registering for Money Message. It's part of our compliance with financial regulations in South Africa to match your ID or passport photo with your selfie."
While marketing materials mention businesses extensively, recipients of funds through the service do not have to be registered with the South African government as businesses, according to Money Message's website.
A news release from Mastercard states that the new service is a collaboration between Mastercard, Nedbank and FinTech firm Ukheshe.
"The need for a diverse range of contactless payment methods is more important today than we could have possibly imagined, as we seek to rebuild the economy by giving businesses the ability to transact in a safe and secure way," Chipo Mushwana, executive for emerging payments at Nedbank, said in a prepared statement. "In order to support entrepreneurship and sustainable business growth across all markets, we need to deliver low-cost, accessible and flexible solutions that leverage widely accessible technologies. Money Message looks to overcome a variety of cost, security and technical barriers by enabling micro merchants and their customers to transact with each other easily on an existing platform, which is WhatsApp."
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