'WhatsApp Pay' set for phased roll out in India

Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp has secured regulatory approval for launching its digital payment platform — 'WhatsApp Pay' — in a phased manner, close to two years after the U.S-based company’s pilot run.

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) granted permission to the California-headquartered company on Thursday to operate 'WhatsApp Pay', which will cater to 10 million users in India during the first phase.

The NPCI approval follows the Reserve Bank of India’s go-ahead. WhatsApp has assured the RBI and NPCI that it will comply with the data localisation norms, a source said. WhatsApp’s resistance to the government’s stand on data localisation was a key reason behind the delay in the company’s payment service launch.

“If WhatsApp is able to fulfil the compliance requirements, the messaging platform will be able to do a full roll-out,” the source said.

Once WhatsApp is able to do a full roll-out of the payment service, it’s expected to capture the lion’s share in that space.

The messaging service giant, which was bought by Mark Zuckerberg-led Facebook for $21 billion in 2014, counts India as its biggest market with more than 400 million users.

(with news agency inputs)