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Amidst WhatsApp privacy concerns, banks exploring WhatsApp based bill payment platform

Banks are currently running PoCs for WhatsApp based payment platform

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Facebook owned WhatsApp is under a lot of scrutiny with regards to privacy concerns in the wake of the proposed privacy policy changes in India. The mobile messaging app recently got a go-ahead from NPCI to launch its UPI based payment service in a graded manner. This was preceded by prolonged regulatory hiccups coupled with legal battles.

India is the biggest market for WhatsApp and with the approval for payments, it has the potential to convert itself from a mobile messaging to a mobile commerce app. Many banks have already started offering their mobile banking services on whatsapp.

Adding one more layer over these services will be the API enabled bill payment service. “Many banks are already exploring the WhatsApp bill payment platform. We are currently in talks with 10 banks and 3 banks are already running PoCs, two of them are the top PSU banks and one private bank. One of these banks have raised concerns with the current policy changes proposed by WhatsApp and said that the bank will be impacted if the changes come into effect,” says Abhinav Jain, Co-founder, Frazor Enterprise Solution. The startup is registered in India as an LLP with Ruchika Bafna and Abhay Jidge as co-founders. 

When asked, if the banks have become hesitant in continuing with the discussions regarding the WhatsApp based payment system, Jain says, “No” the discussions and PoCs are ongoing. The startup is interacting with the digital banking department of the banks.

The concern is around the possibility of the chats being recorded by the WhatsApp platform however, Jain says, “The chats are end to end encrypted. It’s only the battery charge percentage, device IP and some device related information that is taken by WhatsApp,” 

Frazor Enterprise Solution won the first prize in an NPCI organised Ideathon inviting startups to come up with innovative digital payment solutions. The bootstrapped startup has devised an application that helps connect the WhatsApp APIs with itself and with the banks. The core system that runs at the backend is also designed by Frazor. The data, as soon as it reaches the bank’s server, gets automatically deleted from the WhatsApp server.

The same system is also used to connect with Telegram. Frazor is an omnichannel platform. It offers bill payment services not only on WhatsApp but also on Telegram.

So what’s the USP ? Jain claims, “One of the top banks in India currently provides WhatsApp payment but lacks multilingual support, which we provide. Moreover we provide a photo bill payment service. Payment can be processed with just the click of the bill photo posted on WhatsApp,” The WhatsApp based bill payment system also supports Natural Language Processing (NLP). A one line message will make the system understand the step by step process and the bill payment will be processed without human intervention.

The security of the payment systems is paramount. The payment service provider, for e.g. In the case of a phonepe, paytm or any payment service provider being used alongwith the UPI bill payment transaction, the payment app will be responsible for the security. On the other hand, the data saved in the bank’s server is encrypted. Once the PoCs are successfully done, Frazor will also arrange for doing bug bounty programs and ethical hacking exercises. 

The startup is also exploring a different use case of the WhatsApp platform, under a ‘partnered school project’ a consortium of fourty thousand schools and colleges. The startup is running a PoC with these schools for using WhatsApp for tracking and processing student related processes, like mark sheets, fee payment, assignments, attendance, etc. The student’s information is attached to his ID, which is made available to the parents.

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