WhatsApp’s push for digital payments: CEO Chris Daniels writes to RBI, seeks permission for new feature

Aiming to launch its digital payments service in India, WhatsApp’s CEO Chris Daniels has written to RBI governor Urjit Patel, urging him to allow the company to roll out the service as it has met all the requisite norms.

At present, the Facebook-owned company is running a pilot for the service – WhatsApp Payments, with close to 1 million users. It initiated the process for launching the service in India around 2016.
A senior government official said that Daniels wrote to Patel last month explaining how in the past two years WhatsApp has worked closely with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to build a payments solution for meeting privacy, security and interoperability standards. “He (Daniels) said the company is fully compliant with Unified Payments Interface (UPI) norms, has made all necessary submissions and passed the security audit required to launch the payments service,” he said.
The CEO also assured the RBI governor that WhatsApp is compliant with the April 6 circular, which mandates payment service providers (PSPs) to store consumer data in India.

“Daniels informed Patel that WhatsApp had immediately commenced work to ensure that payments data is stored in India and RBI now has unfettered supervisory access to data,” the official added.
When contacted, a WhatsApp spokesperson said, “Today, almost 1 million people are testing WhatsApp payments in India. The feedback has been very positive, and people enjoy the convenience of sending money as simply and securely as sending messages. We’re working closely with the Indian government, NPCI, and multiple banks including our payment service providers to expand the feature to more people and support India’s digital economy.”

“He sought Patel’s formal approval to immediately expand WhatsApp’s BHIM UPI-compliant payment products to all users in India. Daniels told Patel that it provides WhatsApp the opportunity to offer a useful and secure service that can improve lives of Indians through digital empowerment and financial inclusion. WhatsApp’s partner banks have also submitted a request for formal approval,” the official cited above said. Confirming the development, a top government official said that WhatsApp’s request for the service is under process. “RBI, finance ministry and NPCI are looking into the matter,” he added.

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Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker from financialexpress.com

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