UPDATE 1-WhatsApp to provide peer-to-peer payments services in Brazil soon -central bank chief

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BRASILIA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - WhatsApp, the messaging service of Facebook Inc, will soon enter the Brazilian market providing peer-to-peer (P2P) payment services, central bank president Roberto Campos Neto said on Monday.

In a press conference marking the launch of the central bank’s new “PIX” instant payments platform, Campos Neto also said the central bank has held talks with Google and other “big tech” firms about entering the instant payments market in Brazil.

“WhatsApp will start starting doing P2P soon. I have talked a lot with their CEO, we are making good progress. He has told me that the process (with us) was faster than in other countries,” Campos Neto said.

“Our only concern is that we must go through all the approval criteria and that we have a system that fosters competition,” Campos Neto said.

The ubiquitous messaging service in Brazil tried to enter the payments market by launching the service on June 15. But eight days later the central bank and anti-trust regulator blocked the service, saying it must be reviewed for fair competition and data privacy concerns.

When asked whether WhatsApp would operate within the newly-launched “PIX” instant payment system, Campos Neto said there will be room for other platforms besides PIX.

PIX went live at 0930 local time on Monday, and according to the central bank, some 72 million registrations have been opened for the service that will allow people and businesses to make bank transfers 24 hours a day.

That total includes 30 million individuals and 1.8 million businesses, a central bank official said on Monday.

Campos Neto said PIX will increase the speed, ease and efficiency of making financial transactions, from buying an ice cream to buying a car, as well as lowering costs and fostering competition between financial firms. (Reporting by Jamie McGeever and Marcela Ayres Editing by Chris Reese)