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WhatsApp Pay faces antitrust accusation by India's watchdog: Report

Whatsapp is facing an accusation that it was bundling its digital payment facility within its messaging app.

  • Published: May 16, 2020 11:18 AM IST
whatsapp payments

Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s payment service, WhatsApp Pay, launch in India has been in the rumor mill for quite some time. Last week, the company assured the Supreme Court of India that it would not roll out its payment services without complying with all payment regulations and norms in the country. Now, as per the latest Reuters report, it seems that the delay may extend further, as the service has attracted the attention of India’s watchdog over antitrust allegations. Also Read - WhatsApp Pay won't launch in India without compliance

WhatsApp is facing an accusation that it was bundling its digital payment facility within its messaging app. Allowing it to abuse its market position and penetrate India’s booming digital payments market as per the complaint reviewed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in mid-March. Also Read - WhatsApp Pay will be rolled out in India in phased manner as Facebook gets NPCI nod

According to the sources cited by Reuters, the case filed by a lawyer in March is held under review. As it has no particular evidence to wider probe into the allegations. The CCI can conduct its investigation order. Although no evidence is found, it will likely remove the case from its charges. Also Read - WhatsApp Pay will be available in several countries in the coming months

The source further went on to add that WhatsApp’s messenger service and its payments feature – are bundled. This could harm the competition and violate the country’s antitrust laws while detailing the allegations. However, the case is still in its initial stage, with no final decision from the part of the CCI members.

WhatsApp Pay opportunity

The company was supposed to launch WhatsApp Pay in India back in 2019. However, data compliance issues and regulations have kept launch in abeyance since. In 2018, WhatsApp was granted a beta license to launch its payment service as a separate app. A petition moved in the apex court declared its existing mode inconsistent with the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) Scheme. It is estimated that the UPI-based WhatsApp Pay service will reach over 400 million users.

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  • Published Date: May 16, 2020 11:18 AM IST