Mobile Internet

WhatsApp Payments Gets NPCI’s Approval


After two years of speculations and discussions, unified payments interface (UPI) managing body National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has finally approved the launch of WhatsApp Payments, but in a phased manner.

As per a Business Standard report, NPCI’s payments come a few days after the Reserve Bank of India’s go-ahead. As far as the phased launch is concerned, WhatsApp Payments will be able to offer its services to only 10 Mn Indian users initially. But the platform will be allowed a full roll-out, once it clears other pending compliance points.

“The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has granted WhatsApp permission to operate its digital payment service in a phased manner,” Business Standard quoted a Reserve Bank of India official as saying. The NPCI approval came days after RBI’s nod.

In the first phase of the rollout, the WhatsApp Pay will be made available to over 10 million people through the messaging app. Post the successful launch, WhatsApp Pay is likely to become one of the largest mobile payments apps in India considering the messaging app has over 450 million users in the country.

Earlier, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg had revealed that the WhatsApp Pay will be rolled out in several countries such as Brazil, Mexico, and Indonesia to name a few.

It was fairly difficult for WhatsApp Pay to get approval from the NPCI because of data compliance issues that its parent company Facebook needs to address. The Reserve Bank of India and the Indian Government were not too confident about giving WhatsApp the approval because of some of its features. The latest vulnerabilities that were discovered in WhatsApp also added to the reasons for the delay in approval by the RBI and the government.

One of the prime reasons behind the delay in the launch of WhatsApp Pay in India is the number of data compliance issues that Facebook needs to address. The Indian government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had expressed their concerns over some of WhatsApp’s features.

WhatsApp Pay would give a tough fight to platforms such as Amazon Pay, Google Pay, and Alibaba-backed Paytm. Also, it would boost UPI-based transactions in the country that hit the mark of 1.3 billion in December — with 111 percent year-over-year (YoY) growth.

A report published by KPMG in August last year had said that digital payments in India are growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7 percent in the number of non-cash transactions.

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