WhatsApp has ambitions to launch a money-lending service to users in India, according to a regulatory filing.

The Facebook-owned app already has a mobile payments platform called Pay that is rolling out to users in the country, through which the loans could be issued.

A recent filing with local regulators outlined plans to "advance money or give credit on such terms as may seem expedient, and with or without security, to customers and others."

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Regulatory restrictions forbid WhatsApp from doing banking business, meaning any financial service would need the support of existing lenders and banks.

WhatsApp did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent on the latest initiative.

India is WhatsApp's biggest market globally, accounting for around 20 per cent of its 2 billion monthly active users.

Facebook announced a $5.7 billion investment in Indian internet giant Reliance Jio Platforms earlier this month, saying that it hoped to "accelerate India's digital transformation".

The investment makes Facebook the largest minority shareholder in the telecom firm and preceded news that WhatsApp will start testing new features in collaboration with Jio.

The first service launched allows users in certain areas of India to order their food shopping through WhatsApp from nearby stores.

"Our goal is to enable new opportunities for businesses of all sizes, but especially for the more than 60 million small businesses across India," Facebook wrote in a blog post announcing the partnership with Jio.

"One focus for our collaboration with Jio will be creating new ways for people and businesses to operate more effectively in the growing digital economy. For instance, by bringing together JioMart... with the power of WhatsApp, we can enable people to connect with businesses, shop and ultimately purchase products in a seamless experience."

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