After WhatsApp rolled out its payments feature, it has been in a virtual with Paytm. However, this cold war seems to be heating up, especially with the recent report of WhatsApp global business head, Neeraj Arora, withdrawing from the board of directors of Paytm.
According to a report by MediaNama, Neeraj Arora had in fact quit a few weeks ago from the board of Paytm’s parent One97 Communications. Arora held the position since 2005. The move is believed to be caused due to political conflict of interest, however, none of it has been commented on by the two companies.
The LinkedIn profile of Neeraj Arora doesn’t reflect this update yet.
Arora had joined WhatsApp back in November 2011, before Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of the messaging service. Prior to WhatsApp, Arora was a part of Google’s corporate development team for four years, and responsible for acquisition and investment deals. Before that he was the chief manager at Times Internet Limited for a year and a half.
Coincidentally, while the “political conflict” is still being speculated, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma announced in a tweet earlier today that he will petition the architect of the India’s unified digital payment system (UPI) for redressal of what he termed as an ‘unfair playing field’, accorded to messaging service provider WhatsApp, which recently rolled out its payment service in the country.
“Facebook is openly colonising our payment system and is customizing UPI to their benefit. UPI was built as an India Stack, now some American monopoly arm-twists UPI for customer implementation,” Sharma told ET.
Sharma added that lack of a login makes WhatsApp payments a security risk, akin to giving an “open ATM” to everyone. “How can you give such a security risk just in the name of underwriting that banks have given. WhatsApp is used by gullible Indian consumers far more than any other application in this country,” said Sharma.