WhatsApp pay needs five months to go local & live
Currently, WhatsApp has been permitted to beta-test its payments product within a limited user base of 10 lakh and has been allowed only small-value transactions by the National Payments Corporation of India, which runs the Unified Payments Interface railroad.
The company does not share details of the exact number of users on its platform, but sources said it may be in the range of 7 lakh. The Facebook-owned Whatsapp uses UPI for facilitating payments in India.
“WhatsApp may have started working on creating provisions to store payments data within the country, but to finish the third-party audit and to comply with all technical requirements, it will easily take time till August or September,” said one of the bankers.
Responding to an ET query, WhatsApp said it was working closely with banks, NPCI, the government and other payment service providers to support India’s digitisation agenda.
As per the Reserve Bank of India's latest regulations, payments data needs to be stored within the country and all companies in the digital payments business will have to get a third-party audit done by CERTIN-empanelled auditors.
According to a recent Times of India report, WhatsApp has already started working with a third-party auditor for the localisation mandate.
WhatsApp started offering payment services with ICICI Bank, but extended its partnership with other banks such as Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and State Bank of India.
The popular messaging platform has run into trouble with the government over the rampant spread of misinformation, hate messages and fake news on its platform. The government is understood to have sought access to messages shared on the platform, which is fully encrypted. WhatsApp has refused to share access so far.
Separately, Paytm has raised privacy concerns on WhatsApp. Since then, the company has not only worked on many of its payments flow design issues but has also strengthened its top leadership team in India.
It recently appointed Abhijit Bose to head WhatsApp India, and appointed Komal Lahiri as its chief grievance officer for India operations. The company has also started multiple campaigns to increase consumer awareness about fake news and how it could be stopped from spreading.