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WhatsApp payment service to launch with full UPI features after beta test: NPCI

NPCI said it has allowed WhatsApp to conduct beta launch of its payment services with a limited user base of 1 million in the wake of criticism by Paytm

tech Updated: Feb 16, 2018 23:50 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
WhatsApp Payment Service India,Whatsapp Payment,WhatsApp UPI Payment
Four banks will join the multi-bank BHIM UPI model in phases (in the coming weeks) and full feature product shall be released after the beta test is successful: NPCI(REUTERS)

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payments in India, said that WhatsApp’s payment service with full-fledged features will be launched after the beta test of the service in India.

NPCI said it had consented to Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s beta launch of the service in India with a limited number of users.

“Currently, NPCI has given its consent to roll out WhatsApp BHIM UPI beta launch with limited user base of 1 million and low per transaction limit. Four banks will join the multi-bank BHIM UPI model in phases (in the coming weeks) and full feature product shall be released after the beta test is successful,” said the body in a statement.

“Multi-bank model offer advantages such as transaction load distribution between banks and helps to integrate popular apps easily with BHIM UPI.”

WhatsApp earlier this month started rolling out its payment services in India. The feature allows users to make peer-to-peer transactions via the BHIM UPI platform. The service hasn’t been officially rolled out to users yet.

WhatsApp has not responded to our queries on its payment services in India.

Paytm vs WhatsApp

WhatsApp’s payment service has drawn flak from Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma who raised questions over the missing ‘interoperability’ in WhatsApp’s payment service and alleged that the feature violated ‘open UPI system’.

His comments come in the backdrop of Neeraj Arora’s resignation from Paytm’s board. Neeraj also happens to be WhatsApp’s vice president of business development for Facebook’s WhatsApp.

NPCI on criticism

The body in its statement stressed that it follows the guidelines to ensure the UPI platform is interoperable.

“We follow well-defined guidelines for BHIM UPI services with the objective of making our platforms interoperable and based on open standards, convenient and secure, offering multiple choices to consumers for rapid adoption for digital payments through banks and payment ecosystem players,” it said.

Paytm welcomes the NPCI move, but

Hailing the NPCI decision, Paytm said that it was still concerned about “safety/security” issues related to the UPI transactions on WhatsApp.

“We welcome this statement by NPCI. It addresses the concerns of interoperability violation that we had raised. It also clarifies that the trial has been restricted to 1 million users, though we feel that a product with the stated violations could have been tried out amongst a much smaller base,” said the company in a statement.

“We are still concerned that this statement is silent on the critical issue of safety/security of a financial transaction through UPI, where consumers need to mandatorily sign-in with username and password. This violation is fundamental and very serious. WhatsApp must implement login & password like all other BHIM UPI apps,” it added.

Paytm also pointed out that the body didn’t mention the missing SMS notification feature on WhatsApp payment.

“This statement is also silent on other issues such as the requirement to send SMS notifications for every UPI transaction. We hope that future rollout will be fully compliant with all the guidelines. We wait to hear NPCI views on some of these missing aspects,” Paytm concluded.

First Published: Feb 16, 2018 19:38 IST