WhatsApp Pay in ‘Compliance’ with Data Localisation Norms, Now gets NPCI’s Approval

Reserve Bank of India has filed an affidavit stating that NPCI stands satisfied with WhatsApp’s compliance, w.r.t. WhatsApp Pay, with RBI’s data localisation norms.

NPCI states that, “We would like to confirm that WhatsApp has satisfied the data localization requirements based on Cert-In auditor’s reports and we hereby are giving ICICI Bank (payment service provider bank for WhatsApp) the approval to go live,” in the affidavit submitted by RBI to the court. The Supreme Court will be take final decision on the matter.

As a matter of fact, RBI’s affidavit came as a response to an PIL filed by the ‘Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change’, challenging WhatsApp Pay trials. Explicitly, Petitioner Archana Pathak Dave claims that Whatsapp is violating RBI’s data localization norms.

What is WhatsApp Pay?

WhatsApp Pay is a digital platform for making payments. To explain, it will provide users an option to make transactions via WhatsApp to their contact list. It’s a UPI-based payment service that allows users to both send and receive money; developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). WhatsApp Pay landed in India in February 2018, in partnership with ICICI Bank. However, it is still on trial basis for a limited number of users.

Also, in April 2018, RBI issued a circular mandating data localisation by all service providers. According to which all “data relating to payment system” are to be “stored in a system only in India.”

Following that, on February 7, 2020, the messaging app received NPCI’s approval to begin its digital payment service in a phased manner.

NPCI’s Approval

In a letter to the NPCI on November 1, RBI made it clear that WhatsApp Pay needs to keep all financial data in India. Additionally, The RBI rules define that payments data, information on payments or settlement transactions, customer data, among other information, has to be stored in India.

Thus, in response, The NPCI made it clear that whatsapp is in full ‘compliance’ with RBI’s data localisation norms.

 “WhatsApp has satisfied the data localisation requirement based on the CERT-In auditor’s report and we hereby are giving ICICI Bank (PSP bank for WhatsApp) the approval to go live,”

NPCI said in a letter dated June 5.

Impact of WhatsApp Pay on India’s Digital Payment Market

Google Pay has been the most used UPI app in India, followed by PhonePe, Paytm and NPCI-created BHIM.

WhatsApp, with its huge user base, has an advantage over other UPI based platforms. It enjoys over 250 million monthly active users which makes it one of the most used apps. Therefore, it has the potential of becoming India’s largest UPI service provider which can take a lot of market share of other UPI based platforms including Google Pay, Paytm etc.

Final Say in the Matter

Now that NPCI has given clearance on data localisation requirements nothing prevents WhatsApp from going live. It is only a matter of time now,

an industry official said.

WhatsApp awaits a formal communication from NPCI to launch its UPI-based payment system in India. However, that’s not it; it still needs to have an ‘all clear‘ from the Supreme Court before the launch of its payment method in the market.


The case of Aruna Shanbaug that changed the Euthanasia laws...

It is my Belief that death is a friend to whom we should be grateful, for it frees us from the manifold ills which are our lot - Mahatma Gandhi. As human beings, out the umpteen desires that we have, one of them is definitely to have a peaceful death....

Justice D Y Chandrachud’s path-breaking Verdict in the Sabarimala Case of...

“Will the quest for equality and fraternity be denuded of its content where women continue to be treated as children of a lesser god in exercising their liberties in matters of belief, faith and worship? Will the pursuit of individual dignity be capable of being achieved if we deny...

After repealing section 377, its time to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage in...

A draconian, archaic law that criminalized homosexuality was struck down in a historic judgment given by the Supreme Court in 2018. Two years after the judgment, the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community has now sought legal recognition of their relationships. As the social stigmas surrounding the LGBTQ...

Modern Day Book Burning a.k.a Internet Shutdowns

The internet has become an indispensable element in our society for all the obvious reasons. For the majority of users, not a single day goes by where we don't 'need' the internet and the lack of a reliable and fast connection can feel paralyzing. An internet shutdown refers to...

Letter to UNHRC – Dr Kafeel Khan, Punished Because He’s Muslim

Kafeel Khan, a doctor by profession and a social activist has been targeted by Yogi Government since 2017, in 3 years he had been maliciously arrested 3 times & imprisoned for around 14 months on the false charges set up against him at many instances. Now he is absolved...

Prison Life In India and its Aftermath

Everyone prays to never see the bars of prison in their lifetime. Yet, as fickle as life is, it is quite hard to predict the future. It is in everyone’s benefit to know a little bit about prison life; for movies and cinemas do not do justice to the...