WhatsApp Updates Terms Ahead of Payments Service Launch
WhatsApp Updates Terms Ahead of Payments Service Launch
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WhatsApp Updates Terms Ahead of Payments Service Launch

WhatsApp, while testing its payments service in India, said on Saturday that it is updating its terms of service and privacy policy to "reflect the addition of payment interoperability features" ahead of the full-fledged launch of the service.

It is also working on setting up a 24-hour customer support for users of its payments service slated to be rolled out in India in the coming weeks.

WhatsApp, which has over 200 million users in India, will also provide support through e-mails.

We will provide 24-hour customer support. Payments users can contact the support team via e-mail and a toll-free number (when the service is rolled out in India).
Spokesperson, WhatsApp

The spokesperson added that support will be provided in English as well as three Indian languages – Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati.

However, the spokesperson declined to comment on the launch dates and other details.

Almost one million people are “testing” WhatsApp’s payments service in India, which is the largest base for the Facebook-owned company that has over 1.5 billion users globally. 

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“May Collect Additional Information in 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," a WhatsApp spokesperson told PTI.

The spokesperson added that the company has worked closely with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), bank partners and the Indian government on the details of how its service works.

WhatsApp had received permission from NPCI to tie up with banks to facilitate financial transactions via the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

"We still do not have a launch date but this terms and policy update bring us one step closer to full launch," the spokesperson said.

As part of the updated terms, WhatsApp said it may collect additional information when its payments service is used.

We’ve added new features like interoperability that request additional information (related to) WhatsApp payments user and user of any BHIM UPI-enabled app.
WhatsApp Spokesperson

The terms state that WhatsApp collects information "when you send, receive, or request a payment, including the date and time and reference transaction number". Also, when someone makes a payment to a WhatsApp contact, the company collects the sender’s and receiver's names and BHIM UPI IDs.

The company added that it uses all the information “to operate, provide, improve, understand, customise, support and market our services”.

This includes using the information to provide payments and customer support to protect you and others using our services from fraud, abuse or other misconduct, and to review your account activity to determine whether you continue to meet our Terms and Payments Terms.
WhatsApp

It also outlined that the company works with “other Facebook companies to provide payments, including to send payment instructions to PSPs (payment service providers)“.

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma had earlier this year alleged that WhatsApp's UPI payment platform has security risks for consumers and is not in compliance with guidelines.

The Reserve Bank of India has mandated that all payments system operators ensure that data related to payments is stored only in India, and gave firms six months to comply with it.

Also Read : Legal Notice Can Be Served Over WhatsApp: Bombay High Court

According to sources, the Ministry of Electronics and IT has asked the NPCI to check if WhatsApp's payments service conforms with the RBI rules and data security of customers.

They added that NPCI has been asked to check if all compliances are in place before the US-based messaging app is allowed to scale up its services.

WhatsApp had stated that sensitive user data such as the last 6 digits of a debit card and UPI PIN are not stored at all.

While it admitted to using the infrastructure of Facebook for the service, it asserted that the parent firm does not use payment information for commercial purpose.

Facebook processes UPI transaction data as a service provider for WhatsApp, and does not use WhatsApp payments transaction data for commercial purposes.
Spokesperson, WhatsApp

Concerns around the security of consumer data on various social media platforms have been rising, especially after the Facebook data breach incident where data of around 87 million users globally were harvested illegally by data analytics and political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.

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