Banks testing to send banking communications on Whatsapp
Amid controversy on how secured WhatsApp Payments feature is, top banks of India are considering to communicate with you through the chat box of world’s largest messaging app.
According to media reports, SBI Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis bank are considering to send you messages through WhatsApp. Not only sending messages, banks are also considering ways to allow customers to reply using the messaging service.
Currently, banks use SMS service to let you know about banking transactions ranging from cash withdrawals to account balance. For sending alerts through an SMS, banks, usually, charge Rs 15 per quarter. With banks sending regular updates to customers through WhatsApp, charges would certainly come down.
There could, however, be some hurdles, considering payments feature of WhatsApp is already under controversy relating to data security issues. Though the service is not connected with the payments feature, it is to be seen how secured sharing alerts and other financial information would be with Facebook’s WhatsApp. Moreover, will customers be provided with any solution if they want to opt out of the facility?
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced on April 5 its data localisation policy which wants payment service providers to store data on servers within India.
The government is looking closely at WhatsApp Payments feature, as concerns have been raised over its data-sharing arrangements with Facebook. The initial plans were to roll it out by the end of March. But now it has delayed due to privacy concerns.
WhatsApp started beta-testing of its payments feature in February in India in partnership with ICICI Bank. Other banks such as HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India and Yes Bank have also been roped in for the service.
Ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) has reportedly raised concerns with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) about the data sharing policy of WhatsApp with Facebook.