Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche


WhatsApp Pay almost ready to roll out in India

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) might roll out WhatsApp Pay out in India as early as next week.

WhatsApp Pay will be rolled out all over India and supported by three financial institutions; HDFC Bank Ltd., ICICI Bank Ltd. and Axis Bank Ltd, Bloomberg reported. Those institutions will process the transactions while Facebook will provide the ecosystem. A fourth institution the State Bank of India will support WhatsApp Pay in the near future.

A beta test of WhatsApp Pay with one million users was held in February in India, Bloomberg reported. WhatsApp Pay has the possibility of growing as popular in India as Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay might have as many as 800 million users, Forbes’ Yue Wang and Paul Armstrong estimated.

WhatsApp has a large user base in India around 200 million people; or a little under 20%, of the nation’s population of 1.343 billion people use WeChat. Facebook sped up the WhatsApp rollout to head off Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) which brought out its money-transfer app Google Tez in India last year.

Why India is winning the Payment Wars

Facebook is introducing WhatsApp Pay in India because it has official support from the National Payment Corporation of India (NCPI); which is sponsored by the Reserve Bank of India. The NCPI handles chores like security for WhatsApp Pay, and monitors liquidity.

The NCPI gives India an edge on the payment wars and attracts international investments. America needs to emulate India and have the U.S. Federal Reserve launch its version of the NCPI (America Pay). America’s payment technology is fast becoming a national disgrace; U.S. companies have to go to India to test new financial applications.

New leadership at America’s Central Bank the Federal Reserve is needed. Perhaps the Fed should consider hiring NCPI CEO Dilip Asbe to set up a Payments Corporation of America.

Is Apple Pay Encouraging Begging in London

It is now possible to pay street musicians in London with Apple Pay. A Mayor of London initiative called Busk in London will let people pay Buskers or street performers through Apple Pay.

The British capital is introducing the first contact-less card payment scheme for street performers, The Guardian reported. The idea is to help starving musicians make a few extra pounds.

The problem with this system is obvious, it will not be long before drug addicts and bums are in the streets with broken instruments pretending to play and hassling pedestrians. News reports indicate that beggars are accepting wireless payments in China.

An even greater problem would be soccer hooligans threatening to beat up Yuppies and tourists that did not donate to their “music.” It would not be mugging because one hooligan would have a guitar and pretend to sing.

One has to wonder who thinks of this technology. Busk for London is being tested in conjunction with a company called iZettle which is testing contactless payment for small businesses and charities. Despite the potential for abuse this technology has great potential to help entrepreneurs and working people generate extra cash.