After years of effort, Whatsapp seems to have finally complied with India’s data localisation norms to start its digital payments service in the country.
Yes! you heard it right, according to the reports in TOI, a filing by the Indian banking regulation authority, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with the Supreme Court shows that the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has told the RBI that WhatsApp is now fully compliant with data-localisation norms.
Actually, the report suggested that in a letter dated June 5, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) management arm NPCI, told the regulator that it “confirms” WhatsApp has now satisfied data-localisation norms for it’s most awaited payments service, WhatsApp Pay.
NPCI told in his letter to RBI that “NPCI has reviewed the ‘Post-Change Review Report III’ certified by the independent third-party CERT-In impaneled auditor of WhatsApp — Deloitte. We submit herewith that we derive comfort from the reports submitted by Deloitte with regards to WhatsApp’s full compliance in the remaining three points on data storage guidelines issued by our office and accordingly complies with all five points in lines with requirements advised through your (RBI) letter dated November 1, 2019.”
Whatsapp Payments has been trying to launch in India for over two years now but has been rejected time and again by the RBI and the Supreme court, largely due to its failure to comply with India’s strict new data localisation norms.
Interestingly, Whatsapp has become the most widely used instant messaging app in India, since its launch in 2010. India is WhatsApp’s largest market with more than 400 Mn users and was set to be the first country to have WhatsApp Payments as in June, Brazil suspended WhatsApp’s payments service to “preserve competitive environment” just after a week of its launch.
But RBI is yet to specify when it will give the much-awaited final nod for WhatsApp to launch payments beyond the current trial-stage.
As we reported earlier, last month this instant messaging app had informed the apex court about its compliance. WhatsApp had also said that an independent third-party auditor certified by the central government’s cybersecurity firm CERT-in had confirmed WhatsApp Payments’ data localisation compliance.
Meantime, we would like to inform you that WhatsApp Payments has reportedly partnered with 4 Indian banks including ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, and HDFC Bank while the public sector State Bank of India (SBI) will join at a later stage to enable UPI transactions on the platform.
As global giants like Google and Walmart have already a part of India’s multi-billion digital payments game, through their GPay and Flipkart PhonePe apps respectively, now Facebook-owned WhatsApp is also eyeing on this market India, which still have lots of untouched layers.