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WhatsApp Pay may Soon Arrive in India: Mark Zukerberg

The peer-to-peer, UPI-based WhatsApp Pay service will reach over 400 million users -- especially the small and medium businesses (SMBs)

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WhatsApp Pay
It is nearly a necessity for WhatsApp to launch the payment service WhatsApp Pay as it is in direct competition with giants like Alphabet's Google Pay, Walmart-owned PhonePe, Amazon Pay and Alibaba-backed Paytm. Pixabay

Facebook is inching closer to launch much-anticipated WhatsApp Pay in India and will soon have a positive news to share, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said.

Data compliance issues and regulations have kept WhatsApp Pay launch in abeyance for quite some time, despite a successful test run of the payments service with one million users in the country.

“We have our test going in India. The test really shows that a lot of people are going to want to use this product. We’re very optimistic that we’re going to be able to launch to everyone in India soon, but of course will share more news when we have that,” Zuckerberg told analysts on an earnings call on Wednesday.

The peer-to-peer, UPI-based WhatsApp Pay service will reach over 400 million users — especially the small and medium businesses (SMBs) — to boost digital inclusion in the country.

WhatsApp
Facebook is inching closer to launch much-anticipated WhatsApp Pay in India and will soon have a positive news to share. Pixabay

The government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have expressed concerns over some of WhatsApp’s features in complying with the regulations.

WhatsApp had earlier said it had built a local system to store payments-related data to comply with the RBI’s data localisation requirement, but later in an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the RBI said WhatsApps Pay is yet to comply with its data localisation norms.

“We differentiate between payment systems that are built on top of the existing financial infrastructure like what we’re trying to do with WhatsApp payments or when we make payments in Instagram Shopping, and our work with something like Libra that is trying to build some new technological infrastructure for financial services,” Zuckerberg elaborated.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said if WhatsApp meets the regulatory norms from RBI and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), then it should be allowed to start digital payment operations in the country.

It is nearly a necessity for WhatsApp to launch the payment service as it is in direct competition with giants like Alphabet’s Google Pay, Walmart-owned PhonePe, Amazon Pay and Alibaba-backed Paytm. These companies are in a fierce competition to dominate the digital payments industry in the country which is estimated to hit $1 trillion by 2023.

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RBI said WhatsApp Pay is yet to comply with its data localisation norms. Pixabay

According to a report by Omidyar Network and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), nearly half of MSME owners with annual business revenue between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 75 crore would use WhatsApp Payments once it is fully rolled out.

During the earnings call, Dave Wehner, Chief Financial Officer at Facebook, said daily active users reached 1.62 billion, up 9 per cent compared to last year, led by growth in India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

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“This represents approximately 66 per cent of the 2.45 billion monthly active users in September,” Wehner informed. (IANS)

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For U.S. Military Veterans, Apple Providing Health Records On iPhones

The Department of Veterans Affairs runs the largest integrated health care system in the United States, with 9 million veterans enrolled and more than 1,200 facilities.

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Apple providing Health Records to Veterans via iPhones
Apple has been working on partnerships with health care organizations to allow access to health records on its devices, promoting their privacy and security features.

Apple Inc on Wednesday said that U.S. military veterans who use its iOS devices and get medical care from the Veterans Health Administration will be able to access their health records on the devices.

The Department of Veterans Affairs runs the largest integrated health care system in the United States, with 9 million veterans enrolled and more than 1,200 facilities. Apple began working with the department this summer to allow access to health records from the system on iPhones and other Apple mobile devices running its iOS operating system.

Apple has been working on partnerships with health care organizations to allow access to health records on its devices, promoting their privacy and security features. Data stored in the health app on iPhones is encrypted in such a way that Apple cannot read the data, even if the data is backed up to Apple’s iCloud service.

Apple has also worked out similar health record access arrangements with about 400 groups in the health care industry, including Johns Hopkins, the University of California San Diego, Quest Diagnostics and Allscripts, the company said. Apple’s system allows the user to access records from all of those providers in one place on their device. (VOA)