WhatsApp Pay, the peer to peer payments service from WhatsApp, has been in beta since last year. It has close to one million beta users who are using the service, but there has been no leeway from the government for the public rollout of the service.
The Indian government is currently reviewing a third-party auditor's report on WhatsApp's data compliance practices. The government wants to ensure that all the data pertaining to WhatsApp Pay will be stored on servers based in India.
According to a report in Bloomberg, a Mumbai-based representative of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has said that it has received data localisation compliance system audit report from WhatsApp which will be reviewed over the next few weeks.
Post the approval of this compliance report, WhatsApp Pay will be allowed to enter the digital payments space in India with a public rollout. Currently, there are over 80 players on the NPCI platform including tech giants such as Google and Amazon. While WhatsApp is certainly going to be late to the party, it still has close to 400 million monthly active users, which makes it the most popular messaging platform in India. As far as customer acquisition goes, WhatsApp is already sitting on a goldmine considering WhatsApp Pay will be baked into the WhatsApp app.
According to the CEO of NPCI, Dilip Asbe, WhatsApp is restricted from adding more than a million test participants for WhatsApp Pay. "Once the regulator has gone through the report from the third-party auditor on data compliance we will take further steps accordingly," said Asbe.
In June, we had come across reports stating that WhatsApp Pay could go live in India soon. But looks like, it will still take some time for that.
According to the guidelines of RBI, the company has to set up its data storage facilities in the country first, then go through the auditing process where the auditors are enrolled from >Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, CERT-IN.
WhatsApp launched its payment feature with ICICI bank but failed due to a lack of localisation of data storage.