WhatsApp users in the UK can now search for businesses and send them messages about the services they offer via the app, parent company Meta has announced.

Users will now be able to search for a business by name within the app rather than attempting to find the business’ phone number elsewhere thanks to the update.

The feature will be rolled out in a select few countries with the country saying that the change is part of its plan to give users the opportunity to do more from within the app.

Brazil, India and Mexico will also see the feature be introduced as part of the long-term plans to bring “the entire shopping experience directly to a WhatsApp chat”, the company said.

WhatsApp introduces a new feature (Image: PA)

Users could use the new feature to change a flight or hotel booking or to get more information about an upcoming sale.

“People want a convenient way to quickly get assistance from the millions of small businesses and tens of thousands of brands already on WhatsApp,” the messaging giant said in a blog post.

“Today we’re launching the ability to find a business right on WhatsApp so people can now browse businesses by categories – such as travel or banking – or search by the business name.

READ MORE: WhatsApp Communities: UK rollout of new feature begins

“This will save people from having to find phone numbers off websites or type a number into their contacts.

“We’ve built business search in a way that preserves people’s privacy. What you search for is processed in a way that cannot be linked back to your account.”

WhatsApp said that it ultimately wanted its users to be able to “make a secure payment right from a chat with their credit or debit card”.

Speaking at a WhatsApp Business Summit in Brazil, Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg said: “The ultimate goal here is to make it so you can find, message and buy from a business all in the same WhatsApp chat.”