Mobile Payments

WhatsApp Awaits OK From India's RBI To Launch Payments Feature

WhatsApp on smartphone

WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messenger program, is expected to enter India's payments market after becoming compliant with the country's data-localization standards, according to a report from YourStory.com.

WhatsApp Pay made its first foray into India in 2018 with a beta launch. Now it will be available once the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gives it the green light.

That will give WhatsApp Pay the approval to access the 400-million-strong user-base of the messenger app, YourStory reported.

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) certified to the Supreme Court that WhatsApp has "localized five data elements" identified by the banking regulator.

WhatsApp, meanwhile, said it has spent "significant engineering time and effort" in the past seven months to comply with the country's banking regulator's guidelines, YourStory reported.

Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp, in an opinion piece in The Financial Express, said the Indian government had done well on launching the initiative to help Indian residents make digital payments.

Cathcart said he thought with "courage, ambition, and boundless potential, India can emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever before — a leading democratic digital powerhouse that will lead the world through the 21st century," according to The Financial Express.

According to Abhijit Bose, head of WhatsApp India, WhatsApp Pay offers a simplified way to handle digital payments.

"The launch of payments can truly accelerate financial inclusion by giving access to the users that need it the most," Bose said at the virtual Global FinTech Fest on July 22, according to YourStory. "For your average rural women entrepreneur, the internet is synonymous with WhatsApp, making it seamless to use digital payments once made available on this simple platform."

In February, WhatsApp Pay was approved by Indian regulators for a phased-in implementation, PYMNTS reported. At the time, the company planned to scale up its share of the payments market after the end of the full launch.

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