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WhatsApp, the newest entrant in India’s payments market, has said it may share customers’ payments data with its parent Facebook, at a time when Facebook is dealing with questions about how it uses customer data.

Based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform, WhatsApp launched payments on trial for some of its users in February. It is expected to introduce the service to all its users soon.

“We share information with third-party providers and services to help us operate and improve Payments... To send payment instructions to PSPs (payment service providers), maintain your transaction history, provide customer support, and keep our Services safe and secure, including to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, safety, security, abuse, or other misconduct, we share information we collect under this Payments Privacy Policy with third-party service providers including Facebook,” a clause in Whatsapp’s privacy policy reads.

“To provide Payments to you, we share information with third-party services including PSPs, such as your mobile phone number, registration information, device identifiers, VPAs (virtual payments addresses), the sender’s UPI PIN, and payment amount,” it adds.

Facebook in India has about 250 million users and the firm last week informed the government that about 335 people’s data was compromised because of the Facebook data leak case. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before the US Congress over Tuesday and Wednesday about allegations that London-based data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica inappropriately accessed data on Facebook users in the run-up to the US elections.

According to a circular by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the body that oversees the UPI platform, the banks associated with third-party payment apps like WhatsApp and PhonePe need to get exclusive permission from NPCI before they share customer data.

“PSP bank shall ensure that third-party app provider shall require an exclusive permission from NPCI & PSP bank for sharing individual UPI transaction data with any other third party including its own parent, subsidiaries and subsidiaries of parents other than entities such as Indian government/Indian intelligence/Indian law enforcement agencies/Indian regulatory bodies,” the circular states.

To be sure, WhatsApp Pay rivals Paytm and Flipkart-owned PhonePe, too, have privacy policies that state that these firms may share user data.

Last modified on Tuesday, 10 April 2018

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