Not allowed WhatsApp to go live for full-scale UPI operations: RBI tells Supreme Court

The central bank said it had advised the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), which manages the UPI system, to not permit WhatsApp to launch full-scale payment services till the time it fully complied with the rules.

New Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India has told the Supreme Court that it hadn’t permitted WhatsApp to go live with full-scale payment services on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system.

The banking regulator said it was concerned that WhatsApp was storing some payment data elements outside India beyond the timelines permitted in its June 26, 2019 circular. The central bank said it had advised the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), which manages the UPI system, to not permit WhatsApp to launch full-scale payment services till the time it fully complied with the rules.

The RBI made the comments in its response to a court notice, seeking its stand on a petition by an NGO which wanted to stop WhatsApp from carrying out trials of its payment service in India before it complied with local regulations.


The RBI said in a letter dated November 1, it had advised the NCPI to ensure that the payment data were not stored by WhatsApp outside India beyond the permitted time or in an encrypted form.

It said the NPCI had forwarded a system audit report and a post change review report submitted by the Facebook-owned messaging platform, along with its comments on the compliance status on “storage of payment system data”.

The RBI said after examining these reports, it was concerned that some payment data elements were being stored outside India beyond the permitted timelines.
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Subsequently, the NPCI on January 7 told the RBI that it had received a letter from WhatsApp agreeing to complete all pending issues by May 31, and requesting the approval to go live. The NPCI had stated that WhatsApp had committed to closing two of the five items of non-compliance identified by the RBI by January 31 and the remaining three by May 31. Compliance would be supported by a third-party audit report, it had said.

The NPCI requested the RBI’s approval to grant the final “go-live” to WhatsApp on UPI, subject to the third-party audit confirming closure of the committed two items.
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