October 10, 2018

WhatsApp builds system to store payment-related data locally in India


Complying with the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) directive that all payment-related data must only be stored locally, WhatsApp said that it has built a system to store such data locally in India. Nevertheless, WhatsApp did not provide clarity on whether the data is being kept only in India or whether it is being stored elsewhere also.

The RBI had in April mandated all payment system operators to store payments data only in India and had set October 15 as the deadline. In addition to WhatsApp, other companies that store data such as Google, Visa, American Express, Facebook, PayPal, Mastercard, etc are also required to store their data locally. However, Mastercard, Visa, Amazon India, and some others have been requesting for deadline extension.

After conducting data localization, WhatsApp requested the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and the Electronics & IT Ministry to allow it to perform a full-scale rollout of its payments service. At present, WhatsApp’s payments service is restricted to 1 million users.

As reported by a spokesperson for WhatsApp India, “WhatsApp Payments is useful for people in their daily lives and we hope to expand the feature to all of India soon so we can contribute to the country’s financial inclusion goals”.

On the other hand, sources in NPCI reported, WhatsApp has done data-mirroring and the RBI has to take a call on whether that will be enough for them to go full-scale.

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