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NPCI grants approvals to payment services, says RBI

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RBI is also likely to reiterate to the top court that all payment companies operating in India should locate user data within the country.
New Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to inform the Supreme Court before the end of this month that it is the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) that grants approvals to payment services such as WhatsApp Pay, a person familiar with the development said.

It is also likely to reiterate to the top court that all payment companies operating in India should locate user data within the country.

In August, the apex court had directed the banking regulator to submit a compliance report on the data localisation efforts undertaken by the Facebook-owned instant messaging platform. The deadline to submit its response is November 29, the person, who did not want to be named, said.

“The RBI has been asked to submit a report, and even though RBI is not a regulator for Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payment services, it will give a reply well within the deadline,” the source said.

The RBI and NPCI did not respond to ET’s queries.

“Without RBI filing a compliance report in the Supreme Court, WhatsApp can’t start its payment services in India,” said Virag Gupta, advocate for the Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC), which had sought to stop WhatsApp from launching its payments service till it had complied with the April 2018 RBI circular on data localisation.

WhatsApp should also appoint a grievance officer who is based in India, CASC had urged in its plea.

If the compliance report is not submitted within the stipulated time frame, the permission given to WhatsApp to conduct trials on one million users for its WhatApp Pay service should be withdrawn immediately, Gupta told ET.
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