After being at crossroads for the longest time, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has informed the Reserve Bank of India that Facebook-owned WhatsApp Pay has conformed to data-localisation norms. The submission will pave way for WhatsApp Pay's roll out in India.
"NPCI has reviewed the 'Post-Change Review Report III' certified by the independent third-party CERT-In empanelled auditor of WhatsApp - Deloitte. We submit herewith that we derive comfort from the reports submitted by Deloitte with regards to WhatsApp's full compliance in the remaining three points on data storage guidelines issued by our office and accordingly complies with all five points in lines with requirements advised through your (RBI) letter dated November 1, 2019," TOI reported citing a June 5 letter from NPCI to the RBI.
Deloitte was appointed by WhatsApp to audit its compliance after NPCI had asked it to make certain changes referred to earlier.
The RBI norms proved to be the main hurdle for WhatsApp Payments's India services, which has been in pilot for almost two years now. Recently, it launched the payment service in Brazil.
However, the central bank is yet to specify when it would signal the green light for the commercial roll out of WhatsApp Pay in India.
Last month, WhatsApp had informed the Supreme Court that it is now fully compliant with the Reserve Bank of India's data localisation norms. WhatsApp's submission in the court of full compliance to the data norms comes just two months after Facebook bought a 9.9 per cent stake in Reliance Industries-owned Jio Platforms for $5.7 billion. Simultaneously, Jio Platforms, WhatsApp Inc, and Reliance Retail Ltd (RRL) have also proposed to enter into a separate commercial arrangement. Under the arrangement, JioMart—a new RRL commerce marketplace which connects customers with Kirana stores and other small and microlocal Indian businesses—plans to integrate certain WhatsApp services with JioMart.
The Facebook deal with Jio, India's largest telecom company with 5.6 million mobile subscribers, will provide the perfect launchpad for WhatsApp Payments in the country. India's digital payment space is currently ruled by Google Pay, Walmart-owned PhonePe and Paytm.