As per the complaint, Google’s Play Store in India shows Google Pay prominently, which gives it an unfair advantage and affects consumers.

Phone with Google Pay app open
Atom Probe Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 18:04

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into possible antitrust allegations against Google Pay, Google’s digital payments app, according to Reuters. The complaint, which is said to have been filed in February, reportedly says that Google abuses its market position to unfairly promote the app.

As per the complaint, Google’s Play Store in India shows Google Pay prominently, which gives it an unfair advantage and affects consumers.

A report in the Print stated that the complaint alleges that Google Pay is promoted through ‘search manipulation’. It further added that Google can promote the payments app due to its dominant position in the operating system market.

The complaint further alleges Google is promoting Google Pay through “search manipulation” and also alleged the company is able to use its dominant position in the mobile operating system (OS) market [Android] to promote Google Pay.

The complaint is reportedly in consideration stage by the CCI, which may or may not lead to a larger investigation.

Two years after debuting in India, Google Pay said in September 2019 that it had 67 million monthly active users. At the fifth edition of its annual 'Google for India' event, the tech giant said Google Pay's users grew three times in the past 12 months prior to September 2019 alone.

This is not Google’s first brush with the antitrust body. In June 2019, the CCI was investigating the company for possibly misusing its dominant position in the operating system market, wherein it allegedly reduced the ability of manufacturers to opt for other versions of Android OS. 

The CCI also imposed a penalty of Rs.135.86 crore on Google in June 2018 for search bias. This was six years after Matrimony.com, which runs Bharat Matrimony and Consumer Unity & Trust Society filed a complaint. The penalty was levied for abusing its position in general web search and web search advertising services in India. According to Reuters, Google appealed this penalty and that is pending.

In addition to this, Google Pay has also been issued a notice by the Delhi High Court for not following UPI interoperability. The petitioner reportedly stated Google Pay did not allow him to donate to the PM CARES fund without making a VPA on the app, rather than being able to use his existing VPA. According to Bar and Bench, the petitioner has sought for suspension of Google Pay’s operations, a third-party investigation to check for compliance of directives and guidelines, and a penalty of at least 10 times that of Google Pay’s revenue, to be donated to the relief fund. 

 

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