RBI says that WhatsApp Pay is non-compliant with India’s data localisation norms

Since past few weeks, we have been hearing about WhatsApp Pay getting launched by the end of this year. Even the company’s executives also hinted the same, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Well, now it seems that the launch of WhatsApp Pay isn’t happening anytime soon. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has told the Supreme Court that the Facebook-owned instant messaging platform is non-compliant with data localisation norms. So, it has directed NPCI to not allow WhatsApp to start offering full-scale payments service on UPI.


National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) manages Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which clocked over a billion transactions last month. The development comes as the Supreme Court had recently asked RBI to update it on WhatsApp’s data localisation status.

NPCI has supported WhatsApp Pay and Google Pay in India even as the debate around data localisation has ranged. Last month, NPCI said that WhatsApp Pay would be compliant with RBI’s guidelines within two months. However, RBI had earlier told the SC that it did not give approval to entites like WhatsApp to act as authorised payment system operator. It added that it is NPCI that has allowed that.

A couple of years back, in 2017, the company had started testing the payments service in India through invite-only model. Although it’s been over two years since that testing started, the company is yet to officially launch the payments service in India. Since then, without the approval from the government, WhatsApp Pay is limited to around 1 million users who were testing the service.