wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

WhatsApp has built a system to store payments data locally

Just days before the RBI’s directive to store all payments data in India comes into effect, WhatsApp has announced that it has built a system to store payments-related data locally in India.

“In India, almost 1 million people are testing WhatsApp payments to send money to each other in a simple and secure way. In response to India’s payments data circular, we’ve built a system that stores payments-related data locally in India. WhatsApp payments is useful for people in their daily lives and we hope to expand the feature to all of India soon so we can contribute to the country’s financial inclusion goals,” WhatsApp said in a statement.

WhatsApp’s payment troubles in India

WhatsApp Pay was first rolled out for beta-testing in February this year and was supposed to launch in March. However, full rollout of the payments service has been delayed multiple times over concerns of users’ privacy and compliance with RBI’s mandate on localisation. Additionally, WhatsApp has been in the thick with the Indian government, with allegations that the platform helped escalate rumours which led to a series of lynchings in the country.

  • In August, WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels met Minister for IT & Electronics RS Prasad. The minister has directed that the company set up an office and have physical presence in the country.
  • An earlier demand by MeitY’s demand had been more conditional: WhatsApp could go ahead with its payments plans in India only after it opened an office and hired a team of people for it.
  • In July, the Indian government reportedly delayed the launch; MeitY had asked WhatsApp and its partner banks to provide more details about the payments system. Furthermore, the ministry had also asked the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to check whether WhatsApp was fully compliant with its requirements.

The localisation mandate for payments data: A timeline

  • April 6: The RBI mandated all payments system operators in India to ensure that data related to payment systems operated by them be stored in the country, and gave companies six months to comply. The RBI wanted data stored locally “in order to have unfettered access to all payment data for supervisory purposes”.
  • July 12: The Finance Ministry eased the RBI’s directive for foreign payment firms, saying that mirroring a copy of the data in India would be enough, instead of requiring storing the data only locally.
    • Payments companies breathed a sigh of relief, and assumed that the Finance Ministry’s directive stands, and thought it would be okay to mirror user data in India. The companies were awaiting a circular from the central bank to this effect.
    • However, the RBI’s did not issue any such circular, which became a concern for global payment companies.
  • July 27: The long-awaited draft Data Protection Bill 2018 is submitted to the government; it adds an additional layer of confusion to the matter. The bill reportedly overrode all sectoral regulators and therefore all their directives. The bill mandated that all data fiduciaries store a copy of users’ personal data in India and worryingly, it also required mandatory storage of ‘critical personal data’ within India only. The bill, however, failed to state explicitly the definition of ‘critical data’.
  • September 6: RBI asked payment companies to send it fortnightly updates on the progress made on storage of payment system data in India.
  • October 15: The RBI’s circular on localisation of payments data comes into effect.

Written By

I cover health, policy issues such as intermediary liability, data governance, internet shutdowns, and more. Hit me up for tips.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



Releasing the policy is akin to putting the proverbial 'cart before the horse'.


The industry's growth is being weighed down by taxation and legal uncertainty.


Due to the scale of regulatory and technical challenges, transparency reporting under the IT Rules has gotten off to a rocky start.


Here are possible reasons why Indians are not generating significant IAP revenues despite our download share crossing 30%.


This article addresses the legal and practical ambiguities in understanding the complex crypto ecosystem in India.

You May Also Like


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ