New Delhi: In an attempt to comply with Reserve Bank of India’s norm of data localisation, WhatsApp, Facebook’s popular messaging service, has agreed to build a system that stores payments-related data only in India.

A WhatsApp spokesperson said the messenger is running a pilot of its payments service in the country with almost 1 million users.

“We are trying to built a system that stores payments-related data locally in India, which will be along the lines of India’s payments data circular. WhatsApp payments is expected to be useful for people in their daily lives and we hope to expand the feature in India soon,” the spokesperson told a leading newspaper in Delhi. 

The move is crucial as most payment companies still have limited data storage in India and are struggling to comply with data localisation norms set by RBI ( In India, around 1 million people are testing WhatsApp payments as it is the most popular messaging at present.  

October 15 was set as the deadline for payment system operators to store data in India. Besides foreign companies such as Visa, American Express, Facebook, PayPal, and Mastercard, Google and WhatsApp were asked to store the data of the users locally. 

In September, Google has already agreed to comply with the data localisation norms set by the RBI, but has sought more time for executing the plan.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad met at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, where Pichai said the company will comply with all norms and sought time till the end of December.

However, Google has still not confirmed this development.

“All system providers shall ensure that the entire data relating to payment systems operated by them are stored in a system only in India. This data should include the full end-to-end transaction details/information collected/carried/processed as part of the message/payment instruction,” the RBI had said in its April 6 circular, adding that for the overseas leg of the transaction, the data may be stored in a foreign country.

The Indian government has been sceptical about the rollout of WhatsApp Payments. The information technology ministry has sought clarity on whether the new UPI-based service conforms to the RBI’s security and privacy rules.

The Supreme Court in August has also sought the response of WhatsApp on a plea alleging that the social media giant has not complied with the provision of appointing a grievance officer and other laws of India. The petition said that WhatsApp being a foreign company with no office or servers in India and to run payments service here, is obligated to have its office and payments in India.

The messaging app is also at loggerheads with the government over spread of fake messages and its traceability. Last month, US-based Komal Lahiri was appointed as the grievance officer for India, where users can flag their concerns and complaints, including those around fake news.