Since two days, WhatsApp has been dragged into a controversy with regards to the payments service it recently rolled out for beta users in India. WhatsApp was granted a UPI-based payments as a feature that would change the way users use the messaging platform to send and receive money from friends and businesses. However, rival digital payments services have pointed out exceptions that have been applied to WhatsApp’s service.
Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma took to Twitter to show his concern that WhatsApp was playing an unfair game by skipping essential features that the digital payments services abide by. While other digital payment wallet services broke their silence by leaning on Paytm’s stand, WhatsApp has not yet commented anything on the matter.
However, yesterday, NPCI released a statement which supports WhatsApp with their new payments service.
“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. Multi-bank model offer advantages such as transaction load distribution between banks and helps to integrate popular apps easily with BHIM UPI,” stated NPCI.
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has been working to facilitate digital payments in the country with globally recognised products like Bharat Interface for Money BHIM - Unified Payments Interface (BHIM UPI). NPCI follows well-defined guidelines for BHIM UPI services with the objective of making the platform(s) 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.
As for now, WhatsApp has released their payments service to select users in beta mode, and on completing the test, the service will be launched to all users with complete compliance with the NPCI guidelines.
“Broad principles for interoperability like a) ability to send and receive money through any BHIM UPI ID b) intent and collect call and c) read and generate BHIM / Bharat QR code are required in final BHIM UPI app. BHIM UPI enabled app which fulfils such principles only will be permissible for full scale public launch,” stated NPCI.
This means that WhatsApp will be officially allowed to operate the payments service for full scale public only after it fulfils all requirements by the NPCI.
We are still awaiting WhatsApp’s reply on the matter as to what is the present state of the test and when will they go public with the new service.