You may be aware of the WhatsApp Payments via UPI that they recently rolled out to few users for testing. Even though the UPI integration is working flawlessly, WhatsApp might have missed out on a few NPCI guidelines. Paytm was the first to point out these missing features which sparked off a debate among digital payments app community.

Let’s begin by rechecking the features provided by WhatsApp payments via UPI. As mentioned earlier, the feature isn’t active for every WhatsApp user, read our article to find out how to get invited. After getting the feature, you can generate your UPI ID and link your bank account just like any other UPI app.

Features of WhatsApp Payments via UPI
  • Send and receive money among WhatsApp contacts.
  • Receive money from other UPI app with WhatsApp UPI ID.
  • Transact within the WhatsApp chat screen.
  • Transactions secured with UPI PIN

WhatsApp Payments Beta Via UPI Violates NPCI guidelines Says Paytm

So what exactly is missing in WhatsApp Payments via UPI? We all know UPI (Unified Payment Interface) was made to interoperate and WhatsApp isn’t allowing this. That just the tip of the iceberg, the app lacks a password for security, even if it has 2 step verification. We have also added some of our concerns* to the list below.

Missing Features of WhatsApp Payments via UPI
  • You can’t send money to other UPI apps like Paytm UPI.
  • Do not allow to create UPI ID other than the auto-generated one.*
  • There is no App password for Whatsapp apart from UPI PIN.
  • The beta rollout is via public invite system and WhatsApp isn’t regulating it.
  • Apart from these WhatsApp still allow mods like GBWhatsApp to coexist.*

NPCI responded to some of the Paytm’s concern on 16 February 2018 in a statement. Paytm soon responded to the statement that some of the concerns were answered but there is pretty much confusion left. You can read the main points from the statements of NPCI and Paytm below.

Statement from NPCI
  • NPCI follow well-defined guidelines for BHIM UPI services with the objective of making our platforms interoperable and based on open standards, convenient and secure.
  • Currently, NPCI has given its consent to roll out WhatsApp BHIM UPI beta launch with a limited user base of 1 million and low per transaction limit.
  • Broad principles for interoperability a) ability to send and receive money through any BHIM UPI ID b) intent and collect call and c) read & generate BHIM /Bharat QR code that is required in final BHIM UPI app. BHIM UPI enabled app which fulfils such principles only will be permissible for full-scale public launch.
Statement from Paytm
  • Paytm is still concerned that this statement is silent on the critical issue of safety/security of a financial transaction through UPI, where consumers need to mandatorily sign-in with username and password. This violation is fundamental and very serious.
  • WhatsApp must implement login & password like all other BHIM UPI apps. This statement is also silent on other issues such as the requirement to send SMS notifications for every UPI transaction.
  • Paytm hope that future rollout will be fully compliant with all the guidelines. We wait to hear NPCI views on some of these missing aspects
Conclusion

Sanjay Swamy, a mobile technology and payments expert, tweeted on his handle that, Clear guidelines of the MVP & branding (eg. send to VPA, pay QR) needed. He also added beta programs should be defined – max users, max txns, ticket size, etc. Further UI/UX should be free to the app developer. So what do you think, of this approach from NPCI towards the beta rollout of WhatsApp UPI. Hope the article was informative, Peace!

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