WhatsApp Updates Terms Ahead of Payments Service Launch
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.
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.
“May Collect Additional Information in Payments”
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.