WhatsApp has been cleared for a graded rollout by the NPCI, of which the first batch would allow 20 million users.News18.com Last Updated: November 06, 2020, 15:13 ISTFOLLOW US ON:
WhatsApp Pay, the UPI payment interface by the Facebook owned messaging service has finally received clearance to roll out its services by the National Payments Council of India (NPCI). WhatsApp’s payment method had started its services on a trial basis in India quite some time ago but had so far failed to receive NPCI’s nod owing to concerns around data localisation and related factors. However, even after receiving NPCI’s clearance earlier today there is still a catch – WhatsApp has been only allowed to roll out its services in a graded manner.
As part of its public rollout, WhatsApp Pay will be introduced to 20 million users in the first batch. At the moment, it is unclear if the first twenty million WhatsApp Pay users will be inclusive of those who had already signed up for the service during its trial phase in India. A WhatsApp spokesperson was unavailable for comment at the time of publishing this story.
WhatsApp Pay’s potential introduction in India had thrown caution in the air for India’s homegrown digital finance services. According to published data WhatsApp has over 400 million users in India – accounting for almost one-fifth of its global user base. Given the massive popularity of WhatsApp digital payment services may face considerable threat to their business model, particularly seeing how WhatsApp’s UPI payment interface is seamlessly integrated into the app’s communication features.
The NPCI had also previously raised concerns regarding WhatsApp’s data localisation policies, suggesting that all financial transactions to be conducted via WhatsApp would need to be held through Indian data servers. In July 2020, a filing by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with the Supreme Court had confirmed the NPCI’s verification of WhatsApp’s compliance with Indian data localisation laws. The NPCI has also recently disclosed that UPI transactions in India have crossed 2 billion per month, and WhatsApp Pay’s official introduction to the Indian digital payments ecosystem may further boost it significantly.