The Japanese messaging app, Viber is now launching a digital wallet called Payments on the app, a new service that will let users set up digital wallets tied to their Viber accounts. The digital wallet will be linked to other bank accounts as well as Visa and Mastercard, Payments wallets can in turn be used to make bill payments and buy goods, as well as transfer money to other individuals. Peer-to-peer transfers will be the first of these services to launch, and these will be free.
Viber’s New Digital Wallet Will be First Launched in Greece and Germany
Moreover, Viber CEO Ofir Eyal said the new feature will be first rolled out in Greece and Germany. Greece is what he described as a “purple country,” where Viber is installed on the phones of some 91% of smartphone users in the country, working out to 7 million Viber users in a population of 10.7 million, and making P2P transfers more viable. Germany, meanwhile, has just 3 million Viber users, but Eyal described it as a “strong corridor” for transfers to Greece.
Furthermore, Viber has a large team of engineers working on its app — in addition to voice and video calls and text messaging, it provides a complement of other media and third-party integrations for users. The idea with Payments is thus two-fold: it’s there to provide a service to Viber’s existing users to increase engagement and make the app more engaging, and it’s there to potentially attract new people to the platform.
Mobile Payments Caught Fire in the Last 2 to 3 Years
“We didn’t think mobile payments was such a big thing five years ago,” Eyal said of Viber’s own delays in moving faster on payments. “But then it caught fire in last 2 to 3 years,” especially around functionality to transfer money, which Viber witnessed firsthand through its own money transfer service. He said Viber is now taking an open-ended approach to how it develops Payments, seeing what catches on, and where. “We may well invest in growth, building channels, and communities around e-commerce. Or we may experiment with letting businesses show catalogs or individual shopping items.”