India’s banks, which had previously integrated with WhatsApp to offer certain services such as obtaining balance amount information to users, are now reviewing their policies in respect of the use of the messaging platform. HDFC Bank, which allowed users to obtain their bank account balances through WhatsApp, has discontinued the service altogether and is now asking users to download the bank’s mobile app.
Other banks offering certain services to users on WhatsApp, such as ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and IndusInd Bank, continue to allow users to check their balance amount through the messaging app.
According to TOI, which first reported the development, banks have been planning deep integration with WhatsApp so that artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots can ensure a speedy resolution of customer queries and perhaps even banking transactions. With its over 400 Mn users in India, WhatsApp can understandably promote easy mobile banking for smartphone users.
Last week, it was reported the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had written to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart, asking the company to withdraw its contentious policy updates in India.
On Monday (January 25), the Delhi High Court adjourned the hearing for a petition challenging WhatsApp’s policy updated to March 1. The court observed that downloading the application was not mandatory, so users can choose not to accept WhatsApp’s new policy updates.
“If you don’t want to, you can choose not to. It is not mandatory for you to download,” the court said.
“Every other application has similar terms and conditions. How does this application prejudice you?” the court asked.
Appearing on behalf of the government, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma told the court that WhatsApp’s differential policy for users in India and the European Union with respect to the acceptance of the updated policy was a major cause of concern.