WhatsApp to launch payment services in India

Muhammad UsmanMultimedia Journalist

03rd Aug, 2020. 08:00 pm
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The WhatsApp unit of Facebook Inc. is expected to launch its payment services in India, with the National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI) notifying Reserve Bank of India ( RBI) that the messaging platform has met the criteria for data localization.

The previous week, RBI filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court telling NPCI had told the central band in June that WhatsApp’s compliance with the regulators’ data storage rules had satisfied its needs and it was a great decision to start the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform.

According to details, WhatsApp is offering a trial to some of its users.

“We would like to confirm that WhatsApp has satisfied the data localization requirements based on Cert-In auditor’s reports and we hereby are giving ICICI Bank (payment service provider bank for WhatsApp) the approval to go live,” read the affidavit.

According to tp RBI rules, Payment data, information on payments or settlement transactions, customer data, among other information has to be started in India in the future.

As per WhatsApp’s spokesperson the company is all set to provide payment services to its Indian users soon.

“We understand NPCI is satisfied with WhatsApp’s compliance with RBI’s payment guidelines on data localization. Our team has worked hard to meet these standards over the last year.”

The details revealed that the company awaits formal communication from NPCI to start a UPI-based payment system in India.

“Now that NPCI has given clearance on data localization requirements nothing prevents WhatsApp from going live. It is only a matter of time now.”

RBI ‘s submission to the supreme court came in a lawsuit of public interest filed by New Delhi-based think tank, the Accountability and Systemic Change Center, challenging WhatsApp’s pilot project for allegedly not adhering to data localization requirements.

After the banking regulator in 2018 declared the financial data to be stored in India, the data localization had become a massive problem between the Indian government and Indian firms.

Emails sent to RBI, NPCI, and ICICI Bank remained unanswered until the matter was taken over by the Indian press. Although most global financial services companies initially said they would be incurring high data storage costs in India, most of them eventually met.

Sachin Taparia, Founder and Chairman, LocalCircles said,

“LocalCircles, the community social media platform had escalated the consumer ask of need for disclosure of data location for payments data with NPCI and RBI earlier this year after a series of issues were raised by consumers.”

He added,

“NPCI had reverted that all platforms that are live on UPI are fully compliant with data localization, which unfortunately is a bit confusing for the common consumer.”

It should be mentioned here that by Partnering with ICICI, WhatsApp had started its pilot run two years ago. On the other hand, the company awaited the clearances from the regulatory to launch its UPI-based payments for the 400 million Indian users.

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