Moneycontrol
Feb 16, 2018 11:11 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Paytm CEO blasts WhatsApp on UPI integration, faces criticism

Sharma took the internet ecosystem by storm on Wednesday after he alleged that Facebook, which owns instant messaging app Whatsapp, was flouting the rules of level playing field.

Priyanka Sahay @priyankasahay

After receiving criticism from the competitors, Vijay Shekhar Sharma has stated that his previous remarks should not be taken in the context of a domestic company against foreign rivals.

“Quite a few of us haven’t yet understood the matter and are passing such colored judgment. I wanted to make it clear it is in no way – Indian vs foreign company conversation,” Sharma tweeted on Thursday.

Sharma took the internet ecosystem by storm on Wednesday after he alleged that Facebook, which owns instant messaging app Whatsapp, was flouting the rules of level playing field. “killing open UPI system with its custom close garden 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!”

Sharma soon was at the receiving end with rivals such as Mobikwik slamming his post saying that Paytm had also not refused to entertain the payment option of Mobikwik on Paytm Mall.

“Those complaining abt Whatsapp are the same folks who refuse to entertain neutral payment options (like @MobiKwik ) on their own ecom websites/apps and instead promote only captive wallets,” Singh tweeted.

Further on Thursday speaking to Moneycontrol, Singh said WhatsApp is a tech-based messaging app, “and they are using what suits their user case best. They are not an out-and-out payments company to mandate implementation of all features.”

However, clarifying the whole issue, Deepak Abbot, senior vice president, Paytm told Moneycontrol that the whole issue was not about two companies fighting with each other. According to him, the bigger picture was that the regulator here had bent the rules for an international company.

“It is not a scare of competition. The bigger picture is that both Google and Facebook compete with Paytm. Nothing can be bigger and more challenging than this. But the point here being missed is how can they ask this from the regulator and how can the regulator be ok with it,” Abbott said.

Paytm integrated BHIM on its platform in November. It claims to have processed 145 million transactions in December and 151 million in January.

WhatsApp Pay feature is slowly becoming accessible to Android and iOS users in India. As of now, it has been launched in beta mode for select Android smartphones and iPhones. The transactions are being done via Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

UPI is a payment method where the user will have to link their bank account and have a separate UPI PIN to generate the transaction.

While WhatsApp Pay seems to have made life easier, it is not compatible for making payments to e-commerce marketplaces such as Flipkart, Amazon, etc.

The feature is also not exclusively for making payments to shopkeepers or brick and mortar stores until and unless the shopkeeper is in your contacts. For brick and mortar stores, Paytm is seen to be used more than exclusive UPI-based apps, such as Tez.
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