Facebook-owned messenger app WhatsApp has won regulatory approval to scale its payment product, WhatsApp Payments.
This comes a week after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the payment platform will be launched within six months across India.
The unified payments interface (UPI)-based platform for real-time payments has won approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) after a go-ahead from the Reserve Bank of India, according to the financial daily Business Standard. In its first phase, WhatsApp Payments will be rolled out to some 10 million users.
NPCI owns the mobile number based UPI payments platform. TechCircle’s queries to both WhatsApp and NPCI went unanswered at the time of publishing this article. NPCI’s website continues to list WhatsApp Pay as a third-party app for a limited user base.
WhatsApp launched the peer-to-peer money transfer feature in 2018. The platform has since been on a pilot over non-compliance with RBI’s data localisation norms. The NSO Group WhatsApp hack also hit the platform’s rollout in India.
Under the 2018 regulations, all payments system operators are required to store all data related to payments in India. Data processed outside India will have to be stored domestically within 24 hours of the transaction, with the copy abroad being deleted from the systems.
Will Cathcart, global head of WhatsApp, previously asserted that the platform was compliant with RBI’s guidelines.
The late start has cost WhatsApp the first-mover advantage with UPI based third party apps like Google Pay and Flipkart backed PhonePe taking a lead on transactions in the space.