WhatsApp has some clarifications on its Payments Privacy Policy now

With the privacy policy tweak that seems to have backfired heavily on it, WhatsApp is now worried, especially since there has been a concerted action against its ambitious WhatsApp Pay that was rolled out in India last year.

Under enormous pressure from the public, from the government, and from its competitors, WhatsApp has now clarified that its recent privacy update doesn’t affect its payments product. 

In an FAQ post on its website, which was updated yesterday, it said that it may share information collected under India Payments Privacy Policy with service providers to send payment instructions to PSP banks; maintain your transaction history; provide customer support; improve, understand, customize, support, and market Payments; and keep Payments safe and secure, including to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, safety, security, abuse, or other misconduct.

But it specifically added: "Facebook will have no access to encrypted BHIM UPI transaction information in clear format."

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a system in India that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application  merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood.

WhatsApp India Payments Policy to hold sway

This clarification more or less offsets change in the new WhatsApp Privacy Policy that stated "data from business interactions will be shared with the parent company."

It further said that if there was any conflict between the WhatsApp India Payments Privacy Policy and the WhatsApp Privacy Policy, "the WhatsApp India Payments Privacy Policy will control solely with respect to your use of UPI Payments." 

WhatsApp says all payments data is encrypted and kept within the Indian borders, as per the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines.

It may be recalled that after a plenty of start and stop and legal issues, Facebook-owned WhatsApp finally got the nod to launch its payments service in India last year.

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) gave WhatsApp the go-ahead to go live on the country's United Payments Interface (UPI). WhatsApp can expand its UPI userbase gradually.

But the permission came with a caveat. NPCI has told WhatsApp, which has over 400 million users in India, can expand payments to its users in a “graded manner”.

As per NPCI, WhatsApp can extend the payments service to 20 million users and has to work with multiple banking partners.

Earlier this year, WhatsApp changed its Privacy Policy much to the chagrin of all concerned. Apart from the furore among the public, the Indian government too has not taken kindly to it as it shot off a letter to it saying that the Facebook-owned company was shortchanging Indians with its policies. India has clearly called for a rollback of the private policy tweak.

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