[Telegram 4.0 – Part 1] Payments for bots

Telegram just announced the launch of payments support for bots. This is just a tiny part of what Telegram 4.0 brings.

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Telegram just announced the launch of version 4.0, and it turns out this is the largest update ever for Telegram. This version packs 3 powerful features, very powerful features – yes, I have to stress that!

Telegram 4.0 is finally announcing the launch of payments support for bots, Telescope platform for public video broadcasting and instant view platform for almost all websites and blogs.

These features have been under works for long now, and the update’s finally available for everyone to leverage the best of Telegram yet. We will be discussing payments support for bots in this article.

Make sure to read the other two articles when you are done with this: launch of Telescope for video broadcasting, launch of instant views platform for all websites.

Payments for bots

Payments for bots allows bot developers to collect payments for users – as in, payments for selling things via Telegram, collecting donations, and more.

Imagine all the possibility this can bring: you can shop on Amazon right on Telegram, make your utility bill payments right on Telegram, purchase event or movie tickets right on Telegram. The possibilities are endless.

To confirm, Telegram is not a new payments provider and does not handle your payments or card information. Telegram is merely a platform for payment providers to signup and enable payments on Telegram, which can be implemented by bot developers on their bots to collect payments from users. Currently, most of the payments is powered by Stripe, while payments in India will be available via RazorPay. Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Uganda will see payment support via payment provider FlutterWave and over 190 other countries will be supported by PaymentWall.

Also, Telegram does not get any cut off these transactions – they make zero profit off this feature.

Here’s what happens.

  • Bot developers can integrate payment support using Telegram’s payments documentation. They can choose a payments service provider of their choice, based on the ones providing the lowest commission rates or whichever choice they find preferable. If you are a bot developer, read the introduction first though.
  • Users can use these bots to make payments for their orders.
  • The payment information and card information is securely passed to payment provider, Stripe for example, and the payment result will be sent to bot developer for processing the order.

This should establish the fact that Telegram has no play in handling payments. Any dispute arising off payments for orders has to be settled between user, bot developer and the payments service provider.

Telegram also reports that Russia will be getting Yandex.Money, Qiwi as payments service providers while Uzbekistan will be getting Payme as a payments service provider. These are set to happen a little later though. Updates can be heard on this by following @BotNews on Telegram.

If you are a payments service provider, you can enable payments on Telegram by signing up here.

Demoing the bot payments experience

Telegram has two bots ready at the time of writing this post, for users to experience how payments works on Telegram.

One’s @ShopBot, a test bot to try payments without actually payments. Only 4242 4242 4242 4242 works, use this card instead of your regular credit card during checkout. This is a dummy payment after all.

And, the second’s @TelegramDonate, another bot by Telegram that actually accepts payments from users, as donation. Gotta say this, go pay! Telegram deserves all the money for such a powerful platform.

We played around with the demos on Telegram and we are awestruck how smooth the entire payments experience is. Right from initiating the order on the bot homescreen to entering the card information to final confirmation screen on the checkout page, everything’s solid and all smooth.

Telegram also enables an option for users to save address and card information for quicker checkouts in future orders. Telegram does not store the card’s secure code though. That’s to be entered by the user to authenticate the transaction. Importantly though, users can opt-off Telegram’s storing of address and card information.

Payments for bots is available from Telegram 4.0 and onwards, but seems to work just as fine on Telegram 3.18.1. It is suggested you upgrade to the latest version though for seamless experience.

On the contrast, Facebook is yet to launch payments for bots in India. They natively support payments though.