RBI seeks opinion from Indian government and NCPI on WhatsApp payment services

WhatsApp wrote to RBI, seeking a formal nod to expand payments services in India.

Recently WhatsApp chief wrote to the Reserve Bank of India, seeking a formal nod to expand payments services to all its 200 million users in India.

The Reserve Bank of India has now reached out for opinion to the government and the National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI) on concerns which were raised by in the letter by WhatsApp chief Chris Daniels' questioning the delay in approving its payments business in India.

WhatsApp is currently piloting WhatsApp payments and is waiting for a formal approval to be granted.

According to a report by the Economic Times, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology confirmed that they had received a letter from the RBI.

A man poses with a smartphone in front of displayed Whatsapp logo in this illustration. Reuters

A man poses with a smartphone in front of displayed Whatsapp logo in this illustration. Reuters

MeitY has questioned whether WhatsApp’s payment service complies with the central bank’s stipulation to store data exclusively within the country. It is also worried that the messaging service does not have two-factor authentication.

NCPI, on the other hand, is waiting that WhatsApp be fully compliant with data localisation rules in the country.

The development comes at a time when competitors such as Google have forged ahead with their payments offerings.

The Facebook-owned company has also demanded a "level playing field" for all companies that offer payment services, including "a certain and transparent regulatory and operating environment".
WhatsApp's ambitious payment services' blueprint has been caught in a bind, over concerns around authentication and its data storage practices.

WhatsApp has been under tremendous pressure to put in place a mechanism to curb fake news on its messaging platform that incited mob fury in India.

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