The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) had given ICICI Bank, WhatsApp Pay’s payment service provider (PSP), the approval to go live on June 5, 2020 since the platform had complied with the data localisation requirements that had held up its full scale launch for more than two years, the Reserve Bank of India’s reply affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on July 31 revealed. A WhatsApp spokesperson did not specify when WhatsApp Pay will be launched, only that it will be available to all users in India “soon”. We have reached out to ICICI Bank, the RBI and NPCI for details about when the service can go live. In the affidavit, RBI explicitly denies granting WhatsApp the permission to launch full scale UPI operations, probably because it did not need to; NPCI is the authority that grants approvals to third-party based payment apps (TPAP) such as WhatsApp Pay to use UPI, not RBI. RBI has an advisory role. RBI refuted all charges made by the petitioner, not WhatsApp The RBI affidavit was filed in response to an interim application filed by the Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC) on February 10, seeking orders to be issued in the case. CASC’s application had cited this February 2020 Times of India report that alleged that WhatsApp Pay would roll out its payments services in a phased manner, and that NPCI and RBI had considered allowing the platform to increase its number of users from one million to 10 million. RBI’s…
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