Facebook will base its team developing WhatsApp into a payments platform in London, according to reports.
The Financial Times reported that senior engineers from WhatsApp were stationed in London late last year as part of a recruitment drive to support the move.
Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that WhatsApp mobile payments would be launching this year after a successful test phase for the feature in India.
Speaking at the F8 developer conference, he said he believed “it should be as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo”.
The move comes as Facebook announced that Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp were all being brought under one umbrella earlier this year.
The integration of the three platforms would see the company combine its data collection from the hundreds of millions of users around the world.
It is believed that this would potentially allow Facebook to introduce a payments feature, helping the company to generate the kind of revenues seen from Chinese apps such as WeChat.
That app is so widely used in China that street market stalls and buskers use it for trade, and alongside its rival AliPay it comprises a market worth of $ 9tn in 2016, according to Research Consulting Group.
During this year’s F8 conference Facebook announced a new privacy push, telling businesses they will be getting less access to users’ data.
During his keynote speech, Mr Zuckerberg said: “Look, I get that a lot of people aren’t sure that we are serious about this [privacy].
“We are committed to doing this well and to starting a new chapter for our products.”
The company has been forced to apologise repeatedly in the last year over privacy, data misuse and security problems, as well as hacks, allowing hate speech and the live streaming of a mass shooting.