WhatsApp has completed the necessary work on data localisation and has moved to the audit process, post which it can go live with its payment application.

WhatsApp sets up data storage facilities in India gears up to launch payments biz
Atom Tech Shorts Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 14:13

After several regulatory hurdles, WhatsApp Pay is now ready to go live as one of the major impediments of storing data locally has been accomplished. WhatsApp is now ready for a full-fledged official launch of its payments offering in the country, reports Economic Times.

The digital wallets and app-based payment channels have been growing exponentially. In the Indian context, the sheer number of customers attracts operators. In the cases of operators like Google or Amazon and WhatsApp, their additional incentive to the enter the space is the captive base that they already enjoy, running into millions. Even if a fraction of this customer base converts to be account holders on their digital payments service, they stand to gain quite a bit. The advantage is you can acquire a large number of customers from day 1 of operations without having to spend on ads or promotions, a luxury these businesses can boast of.

WhatsApp has been ready to launch WhatsApp Pay for over a year now but were stopped on their tracks when the Reserve Bank of India issued fresh guidelines which insisted that the data collected by the operators of digital wallets and payment services will have to be stored in servers within the country. WhatsApp was not ready with this then, but that seems to have changed now.

The payment service that WhatsApp will offer is based on the Unified Payments Interface, UPI, and the banks to handle the fund end of the transactions include ICICI Bank. That is for starters; the other banks, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and State Bank of India will get added going ahead.

One part of the stipulation RBI has imposed is that there would be an audit and the auditor’s report will have to be submitted to the regulator. There is also the requirement that only an auditor empanelled with the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, CERT-IN can be entrusted with this auditing task. There is now an additional requirement that all domestic payments data that is processed outside India also needs to be brought into the country within 24 hours and stored locally.

WhatsApp has since submitted the report by the auditor to RBI and it is only a matter of time that the approval to rollout the operations is handed out to WhatsApp.

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