WhatsApp still hasn’t provided a timeline for data localisation
RBI’s data localisation policy last year, to ensure that all the data related to payments system be stored in a server located only in India, has ruffled a lot of feathers with the online payment service providers. One of them is WhatsApp, which last year released a UPI-payment system within its native app. The RBI has now said that WhatsApp is not in compliance with RBI’s data localisation laws.
The WhatsApp payment feature called WhatsApp Pay has been in a beta mode since last year and has been restricted to only 1 million users in the country. This also is the first time RBI has made an official statement regarding WhatsApp’s payment system.
As per a report by ETtech, an NGO called Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change has filed a petition, which challenges WhatsApp’s compliance standards.
The RBI’s response to the petition read, “As informed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on November 16, 2018, and February 5, 2019, WhatsApp is non-compliant with the RBI circular (on data localisation)”.
The petition also said that WhatsApp has not paid local taxes while making use of NPCI’s UPI service.
India being WhatsApp’s largest market with 200 million active users, would have to act quickly with a timeline if it plans on a full-scale roll-out of its payment service.
Last year in October WhatsApp had agreed to fall in line with the RBI demand to store critical financial data in local data centers
In November 2018, WhatsApp’s global CEO Chris Daniels had written to the RBI seeking permission for a full-scale rollout of the feature. Apparently, other than WhatsApp, other major players in the market that use NPCI’s UPI network had already shared their timeline on when they will begin to store their data locally in India.