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Aborted take off: WhatsApp payments halted

Only several days after launching its payments via messaging service in Brasil, WhatsApp has had to suspend its offering after a blockade from Brazil’s Central Bank – who threatened transactions providers VISA and MasterCard with fines should they fail to block payments. The official reason given by the Central Bank are competition issues, with the CB saying they decided this to “preserve an adequate competitive environment [and to ensure] functioning of a payment system that is interchangeable, fast, secure, transparent, open and cheap.” The regulatory woes faced by Facebook/WhatsApp in Brasil are a reminder of struggles they faced in India, where they previously tested their payments service. What seemed like a major step for a market with 120 million users is put on hold as the Central Bank evaluates the product, which it said it did not have the chance to do ahead of the launch.

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