All players have to comply with data localisation: NPCI chief

 BENGALURU: Dilip Asbe, MD & CEO of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, has been in the thick of action – dealing with regulatory changes in the digital payments landscape, trying to settle the feuds between payments players over the unified payments interface (UPI). 

In an exclusive interview with TOI, he throws light on these hot-button issues, and speaks about how regulatory compliance and users' data privacy are the top focus areas for the body. Edited excerpts: 
How do you see UPI now, from what it was two years ago?
The UPI architecture is based on consumer choice, the consumer can use any UPI app amongst many. While many providers are in the process of launching their own apps, there are already handsome choices available to consumers. If consumers don’t like an app or they are not happy with a provider, they can choose another app without much effort. We believe that once a consumer is on-boarded on UPI, the switching cost to another app is near zero. 
You have just launched UPI 2.0. What are your expectations from it?
At this stage, we are working on operationalising all banks on UPI 2.0. By December end, we should have most of the large banks and apps offering new features. Building new use cases and stabilising 2.0 functionalities will be the priority till March 2019. 
Data localisation is a big issue for some payments players. What happens if some of the UPI apps are not compliant with the RBI diktat on data localisation?
The data localisation circular applies to most of the payment system providers across the payment system. All the players will need to be compliant. 
What input have you received from UPI apps on this matter? 
We are in the process of checking the compliance status from PSP (payment service provider) banks/apps. 
WhatsApp payments has been a matter of heated debate. What is keeping WhatsApp away from a full-scale roll-out on UPI?
There are a couple of app providers waiting for full go-live and once the compliance to the regulation is received, they should be ready to go live. 
Are WhatsApp’s platform issues (fake news, for example) playing a role in its payments roll-out here?
NPCI is not aware about the issues other than payments. 
Paytm, one of the largest players, has been protesting vocally on various practices of global tech giants like WhatsApp and Google Pay. Do you see any merit in this?
The data sharing and privacy issue is a valid concern worldwide and not only in India. All are eagerly waiting for the privacy law so that there is standardisation. As soon as the law is passed, we shall convert the extant guidelines in accordance. 
Are you increasing the capacity at NPCI, with volumes rising substantially?
We keep a constant watch of current systems and have a policy to upgrade on reaching a particular utilisation threshold. In fact, apart from NPCI, banks and their system providers need to keep working on this to ensure there is enough capacity available to support the exponential growth that we are witnessing in digital payments today. 
How do you see P2M (person-2-merchant) payments growing on UPI?
We see around 20% volume of UPI in P2M services and we are putting all our efforts to grow this share. If you see UPI 2.0, all the features are focussing on merchant payments. Proliferation of interoperable QR standards such as Bhim and Bharat QR that is rolled out for merchants, which can be used by any app for payment, is the need of the hour. 
What permission will Apple Pay require to provide services similar to Samsung Pay?
They need to work with banks and once compliance to all regulations and requirements are fulfilled, I don’t see any major issues



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