WhatsApp to meet data localisation norms in 2 months

Mumbai, Oct 14: Facebook-owned instant messaging giant WhatsApp will be compliant with data localisation norms over the next two months, post which it can roll out its much-delayed payments service here, says the National Payments Corporation.

Even after the launch of WhatsApp’s payments service, it will take at least two years to reduce the cash dominance in the economy as the user base of digital payments must at least treble to 300 million to have any tangible impact on paring cash usage, the RBI-created NPCI’s chief executive Dilip Asbe told PTI in an interview.

WhatsApp has been running a beta version of its payments service since last year in the country, and its official launch is being keenly watched by stakeholders, including its over 300 million users. Many think WhatsApp can help India emulate China’s WeChat story, and help achieve the cashless payments objectives.

“There are still a couple of intermediaries where work is in progress. One is Google, second is WhatsApp. We believe WhatsApp will be fully compliant in the next two months’ time,” Asbe said.

WhatsApp has capped the number of payment service users at 1 million now as it is yet to fully meet RBI’s data localisation norms which require foreign companies to store transaction and user data within the country and delete the same from foreign servers within 24 hours.

According to Asbe, a third-party audit by a firm empaneled by the RBI is currently underway to ascertain WhatsApp’s compliance.

“‘Once the auditors complete their probe, we will review the same and will see how to go ahead,” he said. Abse also clarified that he did not meet the WhatsApp leadership team when they visited the city recently. He also said that other applicants like Xiaomi, Amazon Pay and Truecaller have not been able to launch their payments services because of data localisation rules.

Citing a Niti Aayog survey, Asbe said over three-fourths of the financial transactions are under Rs 100 and this is the space where unified payments interface (UPI) has to make inroads to replace cash and one step in this regard has been increasing the acceptance points. He hoped increased use of NPCI-developed UPI platform by intermediaries like WhatsApp will help grow the digital payments scene.