Paytm plans to launch WhatsApp-like messaging service

Digital payment service provider Paytm plans to launch a messaging service to rival Facebook Inc`s WhatsApp, probably by the end of this month, reports quoting a source familiar with the matter as saying.

Paytm's messaging service, which is embedded in its app, will allow users to send audio, video and pictures and texts, reports quoting unnamed source said.

The payment service, which is backed by SoftBank and Alibaba, will help its over 225 million users communicate more seamlessly within its network, facilitating better interaction between businesses and consumers.

While Paytm is moving into messaging, others like Hike Messenger are entering payments service. Hike Messenger recently launched payments through wallet and unified payment interface (UPI) while WhatsApp is looking at moving into digital payment services in India.

E-payments firms India have benefited from the government's demonetisation, which brought about a cash shortage in the process. Digital payment service providers like Paytm are trying to keep up the momentum through new services.

Paytm is looking to create a single platform, offering not just payments and ecommerce platform, but also looking at investment options like digital gold as well as booking services. The company also recently launched its payment bank.

E-commerce firms are looking at wider convergence on the lines of WeChat's 'everything app' that offers services like ordering food, hailing a cab, planning a vacation, or buying daily essentials.

Paytm has the advantage of having the largest customer base of 225 million in the country. WhatsApp has over 200 million monthly active users in India. Hike claims to have over 100 million users. Flipkart has over 100 million users,

Paytm, meanwhile, raised $1.4 billion from Softbank Corp at a valuation of $7 billion in May this year, making it the second-most valued e-commerce firm in India after Flipkart.

Digital payments in India is expected to jump nearly 10 times to $500 billion by 2020, according to a 2016 report by Boston Consulting Group.