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RBI unlikely to extend deadline for data localisation: What options left for Visa, Google and FB?


While the deadline for data localisation for foreign payments players is around the corner, RBI is leaving no stone unturned to level playing field for all firms with its strong diktat.

According to a Reuters report, the banking watchdog will not consider an extension of the fixed deadline i.e October 15.

In April RBI had given six months timeline for all foreign payments entities including Google, Visa, Mastercard and WhatsApp to set up local data servers in the country.

WhatsApp, which has been obeying every single line in the rulebook to launch its payments service in India, recently set up a system to store data locally. However, no other aforementioned players have initiated such process.

Instead, they had been lobbying against RBI’s clampdown and asking for the extension or withdraw the regulation.

Firms such as Mastercard, Visa, and American Express have also met Indian policymakers, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, to push for an extension of the RBI’s deadline.

Besides, these offshore entities debated over data mirroring, but RBI had openly declined to mirror Indian data and store outside the country.

According to some sources quoted in the report, it was easier for Whatsapp to comply with the rule since it has a relatively smaller-scale payments platform in India. But bigger payment firms may take longer time.

Apart from the timeline debate, they fear the new rules would increase their infrastructure costs, hit their global fraud detection analytic platforms and affect planned investments in the country.

In India digital payments players Paytm and PhonePe have favoured the RBI’s directive right from the beginning. It would be interesting to watch how foreign firms would respond to the deadline.

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