After Brazil suspended newly launched WhatsApp’s payments service to “preserve competitive environment” just after a week of its launch, the Facebook-owned messaging platform said it is committed to launching the digital payment service in India, a process that has been in the works since over two years now.
"Even as we continue to work with our local partners and the Central Bank in Brazil, we remain committed to launching WhatsApp Payments in India. UPI (Unified Payments Interface) is a lighthouse model for the rest of the world, with local banks and institutions driving innovation on a local stack that is capable of delivering financial services for all," said a WhatsApp spokesperson.
On Wednesday, Brazil’s central bank said that Visa and Mastercard should immediately stop processing payments and transfers made through WhatsApp, while it investigated further.
Banco Central do Brasil posted a notice on its website Tuesday, reading (translated from Portuguese): “Within the scope of its duties as regulator and supervisor of payment arrangements in Brazil, the Central Bank ordered Visa and Mastercard to suspend the start of activities or immediately stop using the WhatsApp application to initiate payments and transfers within the scope of arrangements instituted by these supervised entities. The BC’s motivation for the decision is to preserve an adequate competitive environment, which ensures the functioning of an interoperable, fast, secure, transparent, open and inexpensive payment system.”
This comes on a day when the Competition Commission of India (CCI) cleared WhatsApp parent Facebook’s $5.7-billion investment in Reliance’s Jio Platforms.
Meanwhile, in an ongoing case in the Indian Supreme Court, WhatsApp said last week that it was fully compliant with the country’s data localisation requirements as specified by the banking regulator Reserve Bank of India.
India is WhatsApp’s largest market with over 400 million users. It launched WhatsApp Pay, based on the UPI system in February 2018, as part of a trial with one million users, where Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm and Amazon Pay are leading players.