Google Pay accused of data, payments violations by Paytm in a letter to the NPCI

Google Pay accused of data, payments violations by Paytm in a letter to the NPCI

  • Paytm wrote a letter to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) over concerns that Google Pay is violating the rights of its customers.
  • The letter also accused Google of abusing customer data for monetary gain through promotional and advertorial use.
  • Google, in response, stated that any individual UPI transactions data is not being used for monetisation of any kind.
Not only did Paytm, the Indian online payments platform, accuse Google Pay, formerly known as Tez, of violating user’s data rights but also said that it’s using that information for monetary gain. Google did issue a, not so strong, response that begs the question of how far the accusations hold true.

In the past, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the CEO of Paytm, posed some serious accusations against Whatsapp in an interview with CNBC-TV18. This time he issued a letter to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) chief, Dilip Abse, over concerns how Google Pay is conducting business.

The localisation debate

The letter from Paytm to the NPCI comes at a time when India is in the midst of drafting its own Personal Data Protection Bill. Google, while agreeing to comply with all the rules put forward by the Indian government with regard to digital payments, has still been pushing for the free cross-border flow of data.

Google’s argument is that data liberalisation is key for development and will also them to help the Indian startups and its digital economy.

One97 Communication, on the other hand, the company that owns Paytm, says that it has stored and processed the data from Indian users on shore.

In the past, Sharma had defended his views stating that “It’s not all about being protectionist. Everyone should be allowed to play the field. But no one should arm twist and tweak rules to suit their design”

The letter to NPCI

The letter by Paytm highlights 3 separate areas where they think Google Pay isn’t abiding by Indian data laws. Their first concern is that user data is being used for monetary gain through promotional material since their privacy policy states that, ‘it collects, stores, uses and discloses their user’s personal data for advertising and promotional purposes’.

They add this is particularly concerning since this data is also being disclosed to Google, group companies and other unnamed third parties. They point out that the data in question includes user’s navigations, logs and correspondence rosters. Paytm’s letter suggests that this brings the question of intent in to play.

Google’s response

Google response to Paytm’s accusations was mild at most. In a statement to MediaNama, the company said that a ‘common Google account’ ensures that checks are in place to manage risk, fraud, spam and other nuisances. These checks are, in turn, common across all Google products allowing for ‘seamlessness of service’.