Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma earns Twitter wrath for criticising WhatsApp payment feature

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Mumbai: Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of India’s largest digital payments company Paytm, has criticised Facebok over the way they are doing business in India.

“After failing 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 had written in the tweet.

WhatsApp trial service launched in India last week does not require a log-in session and Aadhaar-based payments. Owned by Facebook, WhatsApp boasts a monthly user base of 200 million in India and its entry into the country’s digital payment space threatens to upend the pecking order.

“Facebook is openly colonising our payment system and is customising UPI to their benefit. UPI was built as an India Stack, now some American monopoly arm-twists UPI for customer implementation,” Sharma told the Economic Times.

Sharma added that lack of a login makes WhatsApp payments a security risk, akin to giving an “open ATM” to everyone.

WhatsApp did not respond to Sharma’s remarks, other players such as MobiKwik and PayU flayed the Paytm founder.

Bipin Preet Singh, CEO and founder of Mobikwik tweeted, “All incumbents complaining about WhatsApp getting unfair advantage in its UPI implementation to further its business interests — Those who live in glass houses … there is clear record of private companies who got access first and exclusively when UPI was launched.”

Kunal Shah, co-founder of Freecharge, also backed the American company with this post on Twitter: “All companies threatened by WhatsApp payments are going to tag it as anti-national and try to pull it down as it is hard to win on merit against network effects of WhatsApp.”

Meanwhile, Sharma’s comments did not go well with the Twitterati as well.

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has said it has allowed WhatsApp to beta test its payments service with limited user base of one million and low transaction limit, reported PTI on Friday.

“Currently, NPCI has given its consent to roll out WhatsApp BHIM UPI beta launch with limited user base of one million and low per transaction limit. Four banks will join the multi-bank BHIM UPI model in phases (in the coming weeks) and full feature product shall be released after the beta test is successful,” NPCI said in a statement.

“Nice ! hope full obligation of BHIM like security and tx data sovereignty too will be implemented before full launch,” Sharma tweeted.

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