India’s regulators approved Facebook for a full commercial launch of WhatsApp payments subject to conditions, Business Standard reported, signalling a breakthrough in a long-running row about data storage which delayed the project.
The newspaper’s sources revealed Facebook would be allowed to launch the service to an initial 10 million people, with full availability cleared once it was able to meet agreed terms.
Approval from both the Reserve Bank of India and National Payments Corporation of India follow commitments from the company to meet regulations on the location of stored data.
WhatsApp payments is a peer-to-peer service allowing the transfer of small sums between users on its existing chat platform. The service has been in beta testing since February 2018 with various executives stating a full launch was imminent a number of times since.
However, compliance with regulations related to data storage resulted in authorities blocking its move, while rivals meeting rules were clear to provide their versions.
The delay meant other P2P services have been given a head start, with Google, Amazon, Paytm, Hike and other applications all already providing similar fast transfer services.