WhatsApp Pay may go fully live in five months, said two bankers familiar with the development, Economic Times reported. The Facebook-owned instant messaging service is in the process of setting up the data reservoir in India.
“WhatsApp may have started working on creating provisions to store payments data within the country, but to finish the third-party audit and to comply with all technical requirements it will easily take time till August or September,” the source told ET.
WhatsApp rolled out WhatsApp Pay to one million users on a trial basis to facilitate small-value transactions through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). The platform is partnering with ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and the State Bank of India to offer UPI-enabled transactions. As per the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) norms, payment firms should store all their data locally and should be audited by CERT-in appointed panelist.
WhatsApp said it was working closely with banks, NPCI, the government and other payment service providers to support India’s digitisation agenda, ET reported.
According to a recent Times of India report, WhatsApp has already started working with a third-party auditor for the localisation mandate. Last month, RBI submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court accusing WhatsApp Pay of failing to comply with data localisation requirements. Whatsapp has run into trouble with the government over fake news on its platform as well.
Earlier, Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma had accused WhatsApp of trying to monopolise the market and cast aspersions on WhatsApp Pay over security concerns.
"After failing to win the war against India's open internet with cheap tricks of free basics, Facebook is again in play. Killing beautiful open UPI system with its custom close garden implementation. I am surprised, champions of open @India_Stack, let it happen!,” Sharma had tweeted.
Mobile wallets will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 148% over the next five years, Capgemini’s World Payment Report projected. Major rivals of WhatsApp Pay include PhonePe, Google Pay, Paytm, Amazon Pay, Mobikwik etc.
According to a report by Google and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the Indian digital payments industry is estimated to touch USD 500 billion by 2020, contributing 15% to the country’s GDP.