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Published on : Jun 06, 2018

The rollout of much talked about digital payment services by WhatsApp is expected to be pushed further. This is because parent company Facebook fights a slew of concerns, which includes how user data will be stored and shared.

First put to trial in February, WhatsApp has been piloting a service in India in partnership with ICICI Bank. The pilot scheme was opened to a limited number of users that could invite their friends to try the service. So far the payment service has been used by 700, 000 users.

Privacy Concerns and RBI’s Directive on Data Storage Delays Rollout of Service

WhatsApp Pay as the payment service is known was expected to be available for all users by March end. But the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica episode pointing at privacy concerns and Reserve Bank of India’s directive on data storage have impacted the rollout plan.

WhatsApp Pay if launched formally will allow every WhatsApp user to update the service and gain access to payments feature. As stated by sources, National Payments Corporation of India has limited the digital payment service to be tested by 1 million users or 1% of total user base of WhatsApp, whichever is lower.

It remains unclear when the service will be extended to all Indian users of the messaging app. As stated by sources, WhatsApp is still assessing the RBI norms on data localization. Payments data is required to enable transactions, provide protection to users against abuse and fraud, and offer customer support. While data is stored in a secure manner, critical user data such as last digits of a debit card as well as UPI PIN are not saved at all.