Indian government is holding up Facebook’s plans for a nationwide launch of its WhatsApp payments service over concerns about how users’ data will be stored and other issues, according to people familiar with the matter.
The country’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, has asked WhatsApp and its partner banks to supply more details about the payments system, said ministry officials, who asked not to be named because the matter is private. The ministry has also requested that the industry’s payments overseer, the National Payments Corporation of India, confirm that WhatsApp is fully compliant with its requirements, they said.
“We are working closely with the Indian government, NPCI and multiple banks including our payment service providers to expand the feature to more people,” Anne Yeh, a WhatsApp spokeswoman, said in response to emailed questions, declining to elaborate on the timing of a country-wide launch. Dilip Asbe, NPCI’s chief executive officer, declined to comment.
Among the compliance standards, India’s central bank recently required payment services to store customer data on local servers to safeguard privacy and security. The expansion delay could cost the Facebook-owned company amid rising competition from local leader Paytm and global rivals such as Google Inc’s Tez and Sweden’s Truecaller.