Rumours have been flying around recently that WhatsApp users will be ‘blocked’ from using features if they don’t verify their identity. And as is often the case with rumours, this is partly true and partly false.

It’s no secret that WhatsApp is rolling out in-app payments which will allow users to send money to each other as well as to pay businesses for goods and services. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise: it’s a relatively standard feature of many rival messaging apps around the globe.

WhatsApp has already launched the feature – called WhatsApp Pay - in some countries, including Brazil and, just recently, India, but it’s yet to arrive in Europe, including the UK. The system works is by using existing MasterCard and Visa networks, and goes hand in hand with WhatsApp’s latest focus on allowing businesses to communicate with customers using the platform.

One of the first examples of this in the UK is National Rail which offers automatic journey updates via WhatsApp.

Train journey updates via WhatsApp

The rumours, which stem from an post on XDA Developers, suggest that before you can use WhatsApp to make and receive payments you’ll need to verify your identity by submitting some sort of official ID.

This is because various new messages (strings) were found in a beta version of WhatsApp including the following:

  • "Verify your identity to continue using payments on WhatsApp."
  • "Your identity couldn't be verified. Try uploading the documents again."

WhatsApp India responded to the post by stating that users in India do not need to provide any verification documents. They simply need to use WhatsApp with the same phone number that’s linked to their bank account.

The statement doesn’t address the messages found in the beta version, but their existence points to the rollout of payments in a different region – perhaps Europe.

If this does happen, you won’t have to send a photo of your passport or driving licence to continue using WhatsApp. It will only be required – and even then, it’s still far from certain that it will be a requirement – if you want to start sending and receiving money in the app.