Rakuten Viber expands into fintech

Thursday, 29 October 2020 00:30 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Marks 10th anniversary by launching payments in chatbots
  • The app is expanding its services by offering a secure way to pay bills and more

On the eve of its decade anniversary, Rakuten Viber, owner of Viber, the world’s popular messaging platform announces its expansion into fintech with its Chatbot Payments marking a milestone in the company’s move towards a utility concept.

Ukraine will be the first market for the feature launch and Viber plans to scale it in other markets in 2021. This feature will soon be available for all users in Sri Lanka and the rest of the Asia Pacific region, as roll out plans are scheduled to be announced at a later date. Users will be able to use the platform for buying goods and services and pay with Google Pay or another native mobile wallet.

As messaging and social platforms grow and develop, users are beginning to express a demand for additional features that go beyond emojis, gifs, and video calls. Since early as 2017, 64% of millennials have expressed interest in P2P transfer solutions in messaging apps. That number has grown since then with the pandemic having accelerated the need for solutions to do just about everything remotely. 

With the company developing an end-to-end platform catering to all its users’ needs, it is underscored by impeccable privacy-preserving measures. Recognising this need Viber has announced its expansion into utilities and fintech with a digital payments debut, emphasising preserving user privacy.

Viber’s Chatbot Payments feature will enable users to purchase the products and services of the merchants securely and directly through their authorised chatbots. If the user’s bank supports it, the user needs to add a credit or debit card to their smartphone wallet, after which the payment option becomes available for any chatbot built on Viber’s native chatbot application programming interface (API). 

On the merchant side, businesses seeking to accept payments simply connect to a payment service provider supporting this type of payment, create a chatbot on Viber, and enable payments on it. 

Viber’s chatbot platform is: time-saving as the Chatbot Payments feature enables making the purchase with a few taps directly in the Viber app; it is all-encompassing with end-users now able to pay for the services they’ve been already managing via a chatbot (utility bills, deliveries, transportation, etc.); secure as all confidential payment information is encrypted and not disclosed to chatbots, Viber, or any third party; it is good for business as the Chatbot Payments feature is an easy way for any small, medium, or large enterprises to have a channel on Viber with which to connect to their clients and collect payments; and also scalable as it’s able to quickly enter the market in any country where mobile wallets are available.

Viber is cooperating with trusted bot developers and payment service providers over the next few months to make this available. In addition to Ukraine, Viber plans to launch the Chatbot Payments feature in other markets early next year. 

“We’re thrilled to move Viber beyond messaging and position ourselves on the global stage as an end-to-end platform that actually values its users as people, not ad targets. Privacy and security are very important. That’s true not only in the transfer of information through messages, but in payments and other aspects of digital communications. We’re here to ensure users have access to a secure alternative to handle their payments,” said CEO Rakuten Viber Djamel Agaoua.