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WhatsApp uses FB platform for payments in India, provides more details in new privacy policy

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Just before going live with its payments product in India, instant messaging service provider WhatsApp said that they simply use the Facebook payments infrastructure in order to offer UPI payments to Indian consumers and assured its users that Facebook did not store data pertaining to payments and use it for commercial purposes. 

In an update to its privacy policy, Whatsapp Payments which has courted controversy around the way it handles payments data in India, clarified that they have limited visibility on the Indian consumer’s banking details and strictly abided by the norms of the Reserve Bank of India and the government of India regarding handling of payments data. 

“WhatsApp works with service providers including Facebook. To send payment instructions to PSPs (service providers); maintain your transaction history; provide customer support; improve, support and market payments; and keep our services safe and secure… we share information we collect with service providers including Facebook,” wrote Whatsapp on its online blog seeking to address consumer questions. 

It further allayed fears on having access to the UPI pin which is used to authenticate the transaction, saying that UPI pin was encrypted by the software provided by NPCI. 
In an early morning release to the Indian press, WhatsApp put out a public statement for the Indian consumers to review the privacy settings of the app before they start using the app for payments. 

“We'll be updating our WhatsApp payments Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to provide simpler language on how the payments feature operates. It also reflects the addition of payment interoperability features we've added since the beta started. We've worked closely with NPCI, our bank partners, and the Indian government on these details of how our service works. We look forward to expanding WhatsApp payments soon,” it said. 

Further to ET’s queries around changes in its privacy policy post the issue over Whatsapp sharing user data with Facebook, their spokesperson confirmed: “How we share data has not changed with this terms and policy update. We have permission from NPCI and our bank partners to use Facebook as a service provider.” 

WhatsApp which is thought to have more than 250 million active users in India is all set to launch payment services in the country and is currently operating a test function with ICICI Bank. They have been permitted by NPCI to run the beta testing of their payments product till they reach 1 million customers. ET had written last month that the payments offering is getting delayed due to privacy concerns raised by various stakeholders post the Cambridge Analytica incident with Facebook. 



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posted Jun 25, 2018 by Sanjay Rawat

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Whatsapp has started testing out its UPI-based payments feature in India. As of now it is available for select whatsapp users on iOS and Android. The feature which will enable sending and receiving payments using Indian govt Unified payment interface is available on whatsapp version 2.18.21 for iOS, and version 2.18.41 for Android. Seems the payments platform's integration may give another boost to digital payments.and Cashless Transaction in India considering the fact that whatsApp has a huge Indian user base  

The feature can apparently be accessed in a chat window through the Attachments menu. The option is said to be available alongside other options such as Gallery, Video, Documents etc. Clicking on Payments will open a disclaimer window, followed by a list of banks to choose from.

One can select your preferred bank account to connect with UPI and then the user will be asked to create an authentication pin. Also user has to create a UPI account through the UPI app or your respective bank's website/ app.

Both the sender and receiver need to have the WhatsApp Payments feature to successfully transact on the messaging app. 

WhatsApp has been considering a UPI-based payments platform since July 2017 and ever since UPI was announced by the government, players like WhatsApp and others have been looking to incorporate it on to their existing hardware and software products.

The battle ground will change and there is more to be seen on what the future holds for digital payments. Security and ubiquitosness will continue to remain key factors

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ACI Worldwide together with AGS Transact Technologies, India’s leading end-to-end payment solutions company, have unveiled ‘Transactions 2025,’ with in-depth insights into India’s digital payments revolution.

The report outlines the key growth drivers for digital payments in India’s burgeoning banking and FinTech industry. Additionally, it highlights the steps that financial institutions, retailers, and billing organizations can take to help them better prepare for – and respond to – shifts in the payments space.

India going Digital

By 2025, digital transactions in India could be worth $1 trillion annually, with four out of every five transactions being made digitally. UPI (Unified Payments Interface) transactions are a key driver of greater financial inclusion, as the Indian payments ecosystem undergoes rapid digital transformation. Mass adoption of e-payments and a thriving fintech scene, combined with regulatory policy, are set to propel India into a leading position in the global payments landscape.

Key findings of the research:

  • India’s smartphone user base will likely double to 500 million by 2020; increasingly affordable devices and data will spur safe, fraud-resistant digital transactions based on biometrics and multi-factor authorization, as well as an explosion of consumer services via mobile internet.
  • Based on India’s current growth trajectory, the country could boast a $1 trillion market for digital transactions by 2025, with cash to non-cash ration reversing (4 out of 5 payments made digitally).
  • The user base for digital transactions in India is currently close to 90 million, but could triple to 300 million by 2020 as the use cases for digital transactions grow and new users from rural and semi-urban areas enter the market.
  • Initiatives such as UPI (Unified Payments Interface) payments are driving greater interoperability between banks, independent of acquirer, payment provider or mobile app.
  • Connected devices (Internet of Things) will further drive payments digitization – in India and globally – with around 30 billion connected devices anticipated globally by 2025.
  • Cyberattacks cost India an estimated $4 billion annually, and could rise to $20 billion by 2025, with the digitization of payments presenting new challenges for cybersecurity.

India going Digital“India is undergoing an incredible transformation driven by the rapid digitalization of payments,” said Manish Patel, Vice President, ACI Worldwide. “The findings of our new research reinforce our view that flexible, scalable and reliable technology will be critical to the future of payments in India as the market continues to experience incredible growth.”

“we understand that rapid rise in internet users nationwide is spurring an increase in digital transactions. However, the Indian market unlike many Western nations is still to mature and remains threatened due to lower awareness levels,” continues Mahesh Patel, Group Chief Technology Officer, AGS Transact Technologies Limited.

“Hence, it is necessary that the rise in digital transactions remain holistic thereby supporting growth with scalable processing platform. Also, it should be accompanied by allied precautionary measures such as cyber security and fraud prevention.”

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Industry leaders in payments and financial technology, OMA Emirates Group announces the launch of 'Benefit Beyond'- a new and unique multi-loyalty scheme in India. A part of the group's offerings for the retail sector, Benefit Beyond is a Business-to-Business-to-Consumer loyalty program which enables retailers to enroll consumers for a co-branded loyalty program.

A distinctive feature of the scheme is the flexibility of allowing customers to use a common branded card across multiple stores and locations to accumulate and redeem points.

The common branded 'Benefit Beyond' card can also be used as a prepaid card. Consumers can thus add cash to the card or wallet and use the same along with the pre-accumulated loyalty points in real-time in a hassle free manner across the Benefit Beyond network of merchants, outlets and stores.

Benefit Beyond is scalable, highly integrated and a perfect loyalty solution for diverse large, medium and even small organizations. Additionally, the scheme which can be white labelled has the potential to increase revenues for retailers.

On the occasion of launching the unique scheme in India, Niranj Sangal, Group CEO, OMA Emirates Group said, "Benefit Beyond is a first of its kind loyalty scheme which opens up exciting and new avenues for consumers as well as the retail industry. Introducing the scheme in India also helps us strengthen our portfolio and offerings for the retail sector here.

The program has been designed to bring in a wide and diverse range of merchants under one umbrella and simultaneously help customers avail the benefits of a loyalty program across multiple channels, locations and retailers who are a part of Benefit Beyond. Moreover, it unlocks the opportunity for small retailers to pass on benefits to consumers via a loyalty scheme."

"We have invested intensively in R&D in order to develop such a robust program that's fits the largest as well as the smallest business. Although designed for the retail sector, the scheme also has the potential to cater to e-commerce, travel and transportation, Oil and Gas, Insurance sectors, etc. Principally, through Benefit Beyond, OMA Emirates will drive merchants, retailers and a wide array of other businesses to adapt to digital systems by providing them an integrated platform which will help them understand their customers, add to their revenues, and also build their loyalty program," said Sangal.

In addition to availing the scheme at participating merchant outlets, Benefit Beyond can also be utilized to make bill payments, mobile top-ups, purchase tickets, etc. The program was first launched in the Middle East in 2016 and currently has over 215 participating organizations and over 750 thousand loyal customers. In India Benefit Beyond is being introduced as an integrated platform offering a complete Retail Suite which includes Prepaid Cards, Gift Cards, and a Loyalty Solution.

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The number of card payments made online worldwide is set to jump from 29 billion in 2016 to 70 billion in 2022, according to RBR's annual survey of global payment cards.

The RBR analysis reveals that the total number of e-commerce card payments made worldwide in 2016 was up 28 percent on the year before and represented 9 percent of all card payments. It forecasts that by 2022, 14 percent of all card payments will be made online, according to a press release about the report.

RBR's report concluded that the main drivers of increasing e-commerce use include the fast growth in internet penetration and smartphone use, while the number of merchants with an online presence is also rising.

"Customers appreciate the convenience of e-commerce as it allows them to make impulse buys on the move via mobile, and the prevalence of one-click checkouts and suggested additional items has sped up and increased the number of transactions," the company said in the release. "Significantly, there is also growing trust in security, with enrollment in 3-D Secure (e.g. MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa) becoming more widespread."

RBR noted various factors still affect growth in e-commerce card payments.

In some countries domestic scheme cards are not accepted online, while in developing markets access to the internet can sometimes be sporadic. Cash-on-delivery is still used for goods bought online in a surprising number of countries, as consumers do not always have access to online payment methods, or may be worried their items will not be delivered or want to inspect them prior to payment.

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New Payments PlatformAustralias new Faster Payments platform has been officially launch and is the result of collaboration between 13 members of Australia’s financial services industry, including Australia’s four major banks and the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Australia’s new Faster Payments platform officially launched

Services that use the Faster Payments platform’s capabilities will commence rolling out soon from about 60 banks, building societies and credit unions across the country.

The New Payments Platform (NPP) was officially launched in Australia to support the need for real-time payments of its digital economy. The NPP began as an industry-wide collaborative program to develop new, fast, flexible and data-rich payments infrastructure for Australia.

Services that use the Platform’s capabilities will be rolled out soon from about 60 banks, building societies and credit unions across the country, giving consumers and businesses the ability to transfer money instantly between accounts at different financial institutions at any time of day, any day of the year. They will also be able to include more accompanying information with these payments than ever before.

The system allows recipients to use their phone number, email address or an Australian Business Number (ABN) to facilitate transfer of fund with a simple addressing capability called PayID.

The CEO of NPP Australia, Adrian Lovney, said that over time more payments products and services are likely to make use of the New Payments Platform’s PayID functionality.

“PayID will make payments simpler because it means you don’t have to remember, or share, your BSB and account details with others. Being able to see the name of the person you are paying before you confirm the payment provides more reassurance,” Mr Lovney said.

The Platform went live in November last year and has supported funds transfers between employees at a number of different banks, building societies and credit unions. The Platform’s public launch occurred at 12.01am, when Mr Lovney marked the occasion by making a donation to the Alannah and Madeline Foundation Charity for Children.

“As you can imagine, rolling out something as complex as real time payments can’t simply happen overnight – it needs to be carefully planned. We do expect that within about a month after launch around four in five Australian accounts will be connected to the Platform, through a wide and diverse range of banks, building societies and credit unions. And because the Platform can support multiple products like Osko by BPAY, and the ways in which consumers and businesses will benefit will only grow and evolve over time,” Mr Lovney said.