WhatsApp’s newly launched payment services are being tested by over one million users in India. The Facebook-owned company is working hand in hand with numerous banks, the government and the NPCI to expand its payment operations in the country. The UPI based payment service which will come with the addition of chatting and social media will be in direct competition with the apps like Google Tez and Paytm. The service had been in beta testing for quite some time now, however, now the industry insiders suggest that the full-fledged launch of the service might not be farther away than a few weeks.
An official WhatsApp spokesperson said to PTI “Today, almost one million people are testing WhatsApp payments in India. The feedback has been very positive, and people enjoy the convenience of sending money as simple and securely as sending messages.”
Further, the spokesperson added that the company had already obtained permission from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for tying up with the banks and payment service providers to extend the services to more and more users in the country. To facilitate payments, WhatsApp is going to use the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
However, initially, WhatsApp had to face some troubles while stepping in the Indian market. Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma also went on the offence to tell that WhatsApp’s payment services were not secure for the users. On the other hand, the Reserve Bank of India mandated that all payment related data of the users should remain inside the country and gave a six-month time window to the tech giant for compliance.
After that, the sources notified that the ministry of electronics and IT asked the NPCI to make sure that the company was following the regulations set by the RBI and that no data breach was happening.
WhatsApp said in response that sensitive data like last 6 digits of cards, or UPI pins are not even stored by the messaging service. Also, it highlighted that payment information is not used for commercial purposes even though WhatsApp uses Facebook’s infrastructure to make run its operations.
The spokesperson said, “Facebook processes UPI transaction data as a service provider for WhatsApp, and does not use WhatsApp payments transaction data for commercial purposes.”
The heavy regulatory measures come after the social media giant, Facebook, was caught for the leak of 87 million users’ data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. In times like this, it is obvious that the authorities are worried for the users’ data security and privacy.