WhatsApp Pay receives regulatory approval for operating in India

WhatsApp Pay receives regulatory approval for operating in India

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Back in 2017, we first found signs of a new payments feature in Facebook’s popular messaging app WhatsApp. In India, the UPI-based payments feature was briefly rolled out to a small number of users back in 2018. However, due to data localization issues with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), a wider rollout was pushed back indefinitely. The company has been in constant talks with the government of India and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg also assured that the payments service would be launched in India soon. But late last year the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directed the Supreme Court that WhatsApp Pay was still not compliant with India’s data localization norms and asked the NPCI to stop its deployment in the country. Now, it seems like WhatsApp has finally managed to iron out all the issues.

As per a recent report from Business Standard, WhatsApp has secured regulatory approval to launch its payments platform in the country in a phased manner. The NPCI has given the messaging platform the permission to operate WhatsApp Pay in the country, with a pilot run that will initially be extended to 10 million users. In a bid to get official approval, WhatsApp has assured the RBI and the NPCI that it will comply with the country’s data localization norms, which was the key reason behind the impending rollout. Sources familiar with that matter have revealed that, “If WhatsApp is able to fulfill the compliance requirements, the messaging platform will be able to do a full roll-out.”

As soon as WhatsApp is able to roll out its payments feature nation-wide, we believe that it will capture a huge chunk of the online-payments space. This is because WhatsApp already has a strong presence in India, with over 400 million users as of July 2019. Competitors like Google Pay and PayTM, who have invested heavily in marketing campaigns to dominate the space, might be left behind solely because of WhatsApp’s extremely large user base.

Source: Business Standard