Hyderabad: The launch of WhatsApp Pay in India may be further delayed owing to doubts over data security. The Indian government expressed concerns over the capacity of WhatsApp in protecting data and keeping secret details of Indian users. WhatsApp may not get Unified Payment Interface (UPI) access shortly until authorities complete a comprehensive audit of its platform.
The multimedia messaging platform has a base of about 40 crore users in India. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may audit the WhatsApp platform to ascertain data security. RBI insists on keeping data storage in India. As per the localisation norm, the Facebook-owned platform should keep data of Indian users only within the country, clarifies RBI. The Indian banking regulator also directed National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) not to allow WhatsApp Pay unless it satisfies the localisation norm and data security. RBI further said that WhatsApp should set up an office in India in addition to a grievance officer and a dedicated team.
WhatsApp already released its beta version of WhatsApp Payments services, and about one million users took part in the beta test. WhatsApp says that it adheres to the norms of India. The WhatsApp Payment for India has been developed based on UPI standards. As part of the Digital India initiative, the platform wants to work with local partners, according to a senior official.
WhatsApp is reportedly preparing its audit report for submission to the RBI. It assures that the payment platform is based on Indian rules and regulations. The officials of the messaging app further said that their payment app enables Indian users to send money via WhatsApp. “We’ll add more features in the days to come to make it a total secured payment platform,” said WhatsApp.
An NGO filed a petition in Supreme Court challenging the WhatsApp Payment service. The NGO mentioned that the platform is violating data localisation norm.
WhatsApp informed the Indian government that it had recently set up its data storage facilities in the country. It’s in the process of preparing for the full launch of its UPI payments app. The company is working with ICICI Bank on digital payment service.
The news about WhatsApp Payment services broke in February 2017, and it got approval from NPCI in July 2017. WhatsApp commenced payments services on experiment basis in association with ICICI Bank. WhatsApp is seeking permission from the Indian government for extending its payment services to 40 crore users.
Indian digital payments industry is growing rapidly. However, competition among players is also equally increasing. Several digital payment service providers such as Paytm, PhonePe and Google Pay created a cutthroat competition in India. The entry of WhatsApp Payments may create further competition. Indian digital payments sector is expected to be $1 trillion industry by 2023.
Meanwhile, Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp, has commenced payment services in the US. The social media platform has included Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp in the payment service. Individuals can send or receive money via Facebook messenger. Using a Facebook payment option, users can use their credit or debit cards as well.