WhatsApp has been testing a peer-to-peer payment service in India for more than a year, its largest user market, but the official launch has been delayed by local data storage standards. After a hacking incident involving Israeli spyware Pegasus, Supreme Court gave the central bank six weeks to report on WhatsApp’s compliance with data localization standards as Facebook-owned messenger gears to launch a payment service in the country, a person involved in the case said. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) told the Supreme Court that the WhatsApp messaging platform does not comply with data localization requirements.
The apex bank ordered the Indian National Payments Corporation (NPCI) not to permit the Facebook-owned company to introduce the full-scale payment service in India.
WhatsApp faced an additional challenge as a think-tank based in Delhi, the Center for Accountability And Systemic Change, claimed in a petition to the Supreme Court last year that the company did not comply with the rules on data localization payments.
NPCI operates the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which last month clocked more than one billion transactions. PhonePe and Google Pay are the leading UPI players followed by Paytm and Amazon Pay.
WhatsApp Payments, based on UPI, has been in beta for a year or so. In 2017, through an invite-only model, the company started testing the payment service in India. The payment service in India, however, is yet to be officially launched.
The development comes as RBI had recently been asked by the Supreme Court to update it in August on the data location status of WhatsApp.
The RBI has reviewed the above reports (by NPCI) and NPCI’s responses and is of the view that WhatsApp stores the following payment information elements outside India beyond the timelines stated in the circular and frequently asked questions (FAQs) on storage of payment system data provided by RBI on June 26, 2019, “RBI said, as quoted by Times of India.
Also, RBI has advised NPCI not to allow WhatsApp to go live on the UPI payment system for full-scale operations until it is fully compliant, it added. WhatsApp payments system stores various payment information outside India, including transaction ID, collection demand expiry, and reference numbers for retrieval among other data elements say RBI. WhatsApp has more than 1.5 billion users worldwide, including 400 million users in India alone
Brace yourselves for a digital revolution that is promised to change the face of digital payments today. With the perfect combination of speed and convenience, WhatsApp Pay is set to venture into the world of Payment Gateway Integration on its app by July of this year. Imagine how convenient it will be to send and receive money while chatting with your friends. By doing so, WhatsApp has cut down on various mediums and has integrated everything into one place.
What is UPI and how does it facilitate WhatsApp Pay?
Unified Payment Interface or UPI is an online payment system that runs in real-time. It allows peer-to-peer bank transfers through a mobile platform. WhatsApp Pay is an additional in-built feature rolled out by WhatsApp that is facilitated by the Indian government’s secure UPI payments system. It allows the transfer of funds directly between the bank accounts of its users within the app itself. All the transactions take place in real-time and reflect in the bank account instantly.
How WhatsApp achieved this?
With 1.5 billion active monthly users across 180 countries in 2017, WhatsApp stands strong as the most popular messaging app today and has an ever-growing market. In 2018, WhatsApp sent out a request to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for approval to provide online payment options to users in India. It is working closely with many banks across the country including HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, and SBI to offer quick and easy payment solutions with just a click. WhatsApp then rolled out WhatsApp Pay as a trial for around 10 lakh users all over India.
What are the perks of using WhatsApp Pay?
Say goodbye to shuffling between apps to transfer funds to your friends! With WhatsApp Pay, you can easily send or receive money from anyone in your contact list. Payments will be a breeze when you use this UPI-based feature. Once the transfer is completed, both the sender and receiver will get a payment notification in their chat window as a confirmation. The transactions are directly linked to your bank account which makes it easy to keep track of your funds.
How is WhatsApp Pay beneficial to WhatsApp?
With an already wide user base, WhatsApp has a huge market ready for the launch of its payment feature. Since it does not require the user to put cash into the WhatsApp account or complete the tedious process of feeding in the KYC details, users are bound to prefer WhatsApp payment as a resort to their digital payment options. Integrating a payment gateway into WhatsApp is sure to become one of the smartest decisions taken by Facebook.
How to activate WhatsApp Payment?
To successfully transfer funds, users need to follow these simple steps:
Use a phone number that has a country code for India. This number should be registered with the UPI-supported bank account you intend to use.
Go to the ‘Settings drop-down and search for the ‘Payments’ tab within the app.
Users will next be asked to add a bank account. Select the bank through which you wish to make the transaction from the given list.
You will receive a text message that will verify your mobile number. Wait for a few seconds and you will see a list of all the bank accounts registered with the phone number you entered. Select any one from the options to continue.
You then need to verify the debit card details that are linked to your bank account.
Enter the one-time password sent to your mobile number and set up a six-digit UPI PIN.
If you cannot find the ‘Payments’ option from the ‘Settings’ drop-down, all you need to do is find someone who has activated the WhatsApp payments feature and ask them to send you funds.
How to start sending funds through WhatsApp Pay?
After setting up your details, you are now ready to send and receive payments through WhatsApp Pay. Follow these steps to send funds to anyone from your contact list:
Open a chat with the person you intend to pay to and tap on the ‘Attachment’ option on the text bar.
Enter the amount you wish to transfer. You can send money ranging between INR 1 to INR 5000.
Enter the six-digit UPI PIN that you had set up earlier.
After processing your payment, the money will be sent to the contact.
Once you see two ticks, be assured that your money has successfully been transferred.
You will see a similar notification when you receive online payments through WhatsApp Pay. Keep a record of the online payments by going to Settings à Payments à Viewing History.
WhatsApp is about to bring a revolutionary change to the digital payments space. This will give a tough time to other competitors like Google Pay and Paytm. The beta version alone has received such positive feedback in India that the world is ready to welcome WhatsApp as a mode of digital payment. This will cut out the need for third-party apps and offer an easier, better online payment experience. So go on and set up your WhatsApp Pay account now and experience an enhanced method of digital payment.
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