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WhatsApp Uses Facebook For Payments, May Back Multiple UPI Apps

WhatsApp Uses Facebook For Payments, May Back Multiple UPI Apps

WhatsApp Has Recently Updated Its Privacy Policy To Clear The Air Over Data Privacy Concerns On Its Payments App

Facebook-owned messaging giant WhatsApp has been testing its payments services on the Facebook platform in India. In a media statement, a WhatsApp spokesperson confirmed that it uses parent Facebook’s infrastructure for offering payments in India.

The company is working with ICICI Bank to offer mobile payments through NPCI’s UPI. It may also partner with Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and State Bank of India for payments in India.

In a recent update to its privacy policy, Whatsapp Payments has clarified that they have limited visibility on the Indian consumer’s banking details and strictly abided by the norms of the Reserve Bank of India and the government of India regarding the handling of payments data.

“We have permission from NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) and our bank partners to use Facebook as a service provider. WhatsApp is using Facebook payment infrastructure to enable the payments feature. Facebook does not use WhatsApp payment information for commercial purposes, it simply helps pass the necessary payment information to the PSPs,” he added.

WhatsApp On Data Protection

As per the company,

  • Basic data is collected during a transaction which includes username, payment address, receiver and senders’ account status, balance sufficiency and others.
  • Some of this data is retained for future reference
  • All transaction related information is stored in an encrypted format.
  • In debit card details, only UPI pin, and card expiry date is taken and are not retained
  • UPI Pin is encrypted by NPCI’s software

In order to provide more support to its data privacy drive in India, WhatsApp has also put on stage its offer to become an interoperable payments platform with other BHIM-UPI apps.

WhatsApp further iterated its commitment to update its WhatsApp payments Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to provide simpler language on how the payments feature operates. It has also garnered support from bankers which agrees that only limited data access will be available to WhatsApp during the transactions.

Also, the company is working on setting up a 24-hour customer support for users to sort issues linked to its payment services. It will provide support through emails as well as a toll-free number. The support will be available in English Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati.

“We will provide 24-hour customer support. Payments users can contact the support team via e-mail and a toll-free number (when the service is rolled out in India),” said WhatsApp spokesperson.

The updates in the privacy policy came on heels of the delay in launching the full version of WhatsApp Payments due to the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica row. As Inc42 reported earlier, Facebook is currently examining data privacy concerns, including how it will store and share user data in line with the RBI’s mandate of storing data in India.

As of now National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has restricted the testing of  WhatsApp Pay’s beta version to a sample of 1 Mn users or 1% of WhatsApp’s total user base, whichever is lower.

At present, the Facebook-owned WhatsApp has 200 Mn active monthly users in India. It is speculated that so far 700K users have tried the service.

[The development was reported by ET.]

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