Updated at September 18, 2020:
That was quick, Paytm mobile app is back on Google Play Store. You can now download and update the app directly from Play Store.
The company has published a blog post explaining what went in the background. According to the company, in a recent update, the app added Paytm Cricket League which allowed Paytm users to get player stickers after each transaction, which they can collect and then redeem to receive Paytm Cashback.
However, according to Google it was a violation of its Play Store policies on gambling and thus suspended Paytm app from Play Store. The app got unlisted and was made temporarily unavailable to users for new downloads or updates.
To meet the Play Store policy requirements, Paytm temporarily removed the cashback component. This allowed the app to be listed back on Google Play Store.
According to Paytm, “all activities on Paytm are completely lawful“. Its services are fully functional now on all existing apps, and users can download or update the app as usual.
Our original story from Friday, September 18, 2020, follows:
Yes, you have read it right. Google has removed one of India’s most popular digital payment and financial services app Paytm from the Play Store. Why? because the recent update in Paytm app violated the Play Store policies. So what included in the recent update? Well, Paytm recently added fantasy cricket tournament to tap on the IPL 2020 hype to its app which however seems to be a violation of Google Play Store gambling policies in India.
Alongside the main Paytm mobile app, Google has also removed the Paytm First Games app for repeated violation of its Play Store policies. This app too included the same fantasy cricket game with real money betting.
Short after the ban, Google post an official blog post highlighting the Play Store policies in India.
In it, Suzanne Frey, VP, Product, Android Security and Privacy said “We don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting. This includes if an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes, it is a violation of our policies,“.
“When an app violates these policies, we notify the developer of the violation and remove the app from Google Play until the developer brings the app into compliance. And in the case where there are repeated policy violations, we may take more serious action which may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts. Our policies are applied and enforced on all developers consistently“, she further added.
So, it seems Paytm newest addition, the fantasy cricket tournament which roped in “Sachin Tendulkar” as its brand ambassador is the root cause to the problem. The fantasy tournament allowed real money betting, which is a violation of Play Store gambling policies.
Paytm has acknowledged the app removal from Play Store, and the company is working towards restoring the access. It has reassured users that their money is safe, as the Paytm app also houses Paytm Wallet and Paytm Bank.