Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma has voiced his resentment against WhatsApp payment not following the UPI policies imposed on another platform. Mr. Sharma told ET that he will petition National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which has developed the UPI system, against the unfair advantage accorded to Facebook-owned WhatsApp in India.
WhatsApp Payment service, which is still in trial phase, doesn’t require log-in sessions and Aadhar based payment. Sharma claims that this is a big security risk akin to giving an “Open ATM” to everyone.
“Facebook is openly colonising our payment system and is customizing UPI to their benefit. UPI was built as an India Stack, now some American monopoly arm-twists UPI for customer implementation,” told Sharma.
“How can you give such a security risk just in the name of underwriting that banks have given. WhatsApp is used by gullible Indian consumers far more than any other application in this country,” he further added.
If you are using WhatsApp, your money is still secured by your UPI Pin, but according to Sharma, WhatsApp has been given an unfair advantage and has compromised user security for the sake of better interface experience.
That’s not all, Sharma also took to Twitter to openly begin an unbecoming slugfest.
After failing to win war against India’s open internet with cheap tricks of free basics, Facebook is again in play.
Killing beautiful open UPI system with its custom close garden implementation.
I am surprised, champions of open @India_Stack , let it happen ! https://t.co/wIsNuF1AiB
— Vijay Shekhar (@vijayshekhar) February 14, 2018
However, the issue might not be as grave as Sharma points out.
An industry executive aware of WhatsApp’s payments product has rebutted Sharma’s claims. “While NPCI has advised UPI apps to have login sessions, it is not compulsory. Even other apps that use UPI, like Ola and Uber, don’t have login sessions.”
It’s good to see that Chinese companies are standing up against the anti India Whatsapp !
— Amrish Rau (@amrishrau) February 14, 2018
“WhatsApp has done a good payments app and other incumbents are just spreading fear,” said Amrish Rau, India head of global payments firm PayU. “These are just market gimmicks. WhatsApp is following the usual process for UPI. Spreading rumors is not helping Digital India,” he added.
To me, the funniest and most ironic aspect of all this UPI stuff is that no one is talking about our poor banks. With UPI , banks wanted to compete with wallets. I wonder if they’ve already ceded too much control to non-banks. The story repeats . 4/4
— Bipin Preet Singh (@BipinSingh) February 14, 2018
Vijay Shekhar Sharma might have a point, but the caustic remarks definitely seem to be rooted in insecurity. After all, WhatsApp is the biggest messaging app with over 200 million active users in India and, in our opinion, it isn’t befitting CEO of the biggest digital payment platform to cry foul on public forums against an emerging payment platform.