Apple Shelves India Payments Expansion, Google to Move Ahead

Apple shares concerns over data localisation with Mastercard, Visa, Amazon, WhatsApp and PayPal, but Google will be ready to comply by December.

Apple has put on hold plans to launch a payments platform in India based on the UPI (Unified Payment Interface), reported the Economic Times.

The introduction of Apple Pay in India has reportedly stalled following talks with banks and the NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India), which manages the UPI platform.

The UPI would have enabled Apple Pay to transact with banks in India, but the company is concerned about data localisation rules, which mandate the storage of all payments data within India either by setting up storage facilities or by working with a partner.

Notably, Apple does oblige with regulations in China requiring it to store customer data onshore, which it said in February was “a better option than discontinuing the service” which would cause a “negative user experience”.

Multinational companies including Mastercard, Visa, Amazon, WhatsApp and PayPal are all waiting for clarity around India’s data localisation rules, guidelines for which were released in April by the RBI (Reserve Bank of India), with compliance by all payments firms expected by 15 October 2018.

Separately, media reports indicate that Google is ready to move into India’s payments markets with its Google Pay platform, but wants until December to comply with the country’s data localisation rules.

India is meanwhile currently consulting on a draft Personal Data Protection Bill which focuses on securing informed consent for the processing of all personal data and imposes restrictions on cross border transfers, among other requirements. The deadline for consultation was recently postponed to 30 September.

Apple also ran into technical and design issues; namely, it wanted to use Touch ID (fingerprint) authentication for UPI payments, but NPCI guidelines say biometric authentication has to be validated by the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), the issuer of Aadhaar numbers. Instead, UPI platform customers are required to enter a four- or six-digit number to authenticate transactions.

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