WhatsApp’s impending foray into the Indian payment space is reportedly being probed by the country’s antitrust watchdog.
According to Reuters, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into accusations that the instant messaging platform is misusing its dominant position by offering payment services.
A complaint was filed with the regulator in mid-March contending that the Facebook-owned WhatsApp by adding its digital payment feature to its messaging app will ‘abuse’ its position to enter the digital payments market of India.
Neither WhatsApp nor the regulator agreed to respond to the report.
The objection comes at a time when WhatsApp is working in mission mode to launch its payments platform in India by this month-end.
In India, the company has been beta testing the payment service with approximately one million users since 2018.
WhatsApp Pay is based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) standard. This standard allows users to transact without using their net banking credentials.
WhatsApp secured key regulatory approval to launch its payment services in India in phases in February this year.
The report added that WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook for $21bn in 2014, is working on abiding by the Reserve Bank of India’s data localisation norms, which is believed to have been the key reason behind the launch delay.
Recently, reports emerged that the Facebook-owned digital payments platform is also mulling to foray into India’s lucrative loans and lending market soon.
The company, in its filing with the ministry of corporate affairs, said it would explore this business plan in partnership with local banks since it can’t indulge in any banking business as per the law.