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WhatsApp looking for a director to lead payments operations in India

WhatsApp Pay

WhatsApp is looking for a director to head its payments operations in India, as per a job post on Facebook. This person would report to Abhijit Bose, the head of WhatsApp India, and would be responsible for developing WhatsApp’s long-term strategy for payments in India. The company is looking for a person with a background in banking and payments, but experience in software is listed as a preferred qualification.

Despite being piloted over two years ago in India, WhatsApp Pay has not seen a full launch yet. Facebook and WhatsApp have repeatedly run into hurdles around India’s data localisation mandate and the related regulatory clearances. At least two different cases have been filed in the Supreme Court against the service.

In a moment of relief, the Reserve Bank of India informed the Supreme Court in July 2020 that 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. We have reached out to WhatsApp to know when the service will be fully launched in India. The company had earlier told us that WhatsApp Pay would be available to all users in India “soon”.

WhatsApp will also pilot multiple projects to deliver insurance, microcredit and pension products to Indians over the next two to three years, WhatsApp’s India head, Abhijit Bose, had announced in July.

India is not the only market where WhatsApp Pay is facing issues. In Brazil, the central bank suspended the platform’s payments services only a week after they were launched citing concerns around competition.

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Facebook increases focus on payments

Facebook is concentrating its resources on its commercial and payments arms. On August 10, the company launched Facebook Financial, or F2, Bloomberg had reported. F2 will run all its payments projects, including Facebook Pay — which is its payment system that will be available across all its platforms and messaging services —, WhatsApp payments, and Novi, the company’s cryptocurrency wallet that was earlier called Calibra.

F2 is headed by David Marcus, the person behind Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Libra. As per the Bloomberg report, Marcus will be involved in WhatsApp’s payments efforts in India and Brazil, places where WhatsApp has faced multiple problems related to deploying payments. Former Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel has been hired as the vice president. We have asked WhatsApp if the new director of payments in India will also report to F2.

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