By Aluisio Alves
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's central bank has authorized testing of payments via Facebook Inc's messaging service WhatsApp in the country, Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc said on Friday, easing an outright ban on the service imposed last month.
The ubiquitious messaging service in Brazil was finally entering the arena of payments by launching the service on June 15, after years of questions on how Facebook would make money from WhatsApp.
But only eight days later, Brazil's central bank and anti-trust regulator blocked the service, saying it must be reviewed fair competition and data privacy concerns.
Mastercard said in a statement that the tests would allow a limited number of cards to make small payments while the service is still pending central bank approval.
The central bank said in a statement that "the request is being analyzed and is following the normal approval procedure," without elaborating.
(Reporting by Aluisio Alves in Sao Paulo; Additional reporting by Isabel Versiani in Brasilia; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Christian Plumb)