The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has published a set of “master directions” to stop online merchants, payment aggregators and e-commerce website from storing debit and credit card details.
As reported by Business Insider, from July this year, customers will either have to memorise their card details or keep their cards handy when shopping online.
“Web applications providing the digital payment products and services should not store sensitive information in HTML hidden fields, cookies, or any other client-side storage,” RBI’s circular read.
The central bank puts its decision down to an effort “to avoid any compromise in the integrity of the data”.
It will affect players as large as Amazon, Zomato, Google, PayTM, Netflix and Flipkart. A host of these firms have written to the RBI asking to be omitted from the incoming regulations.
India’s regulators are famously cautious when it comes to how firms store data. WhatsApp Pay finally landed the green light to launch in India last November, after delaying launch since its beta testing in 2018.
Regulators requested Facebook to host all payments data pertaining to Indian consumers in the country, as opposed to in the US. It also asked the Big Tech to keep Indian customers’ data separate from all other Facebook data.
In the name of security?
The RBI’s latest rules were anticipated by Indian IT lobby NASSCOM back in January. It pointed out how hard it would make basic functions such as complaint, refund, or dispute resolution.
The lobby group also suggested the regulator’s intentions didn’t necessarily match its actions.
“While it appears that these restrictions have been imposed for the purposes of ensuring security and fraud prevention, it is unclear as to how limiting data storage will achieve this purpose,” NASSCOM said.
India was second only to Japan in the number of cyberattacks faced last year across Asia Pacific. That’s according to an IBM report. India alone accounted for accounting for 7% of all attacks in the region.
This perhaps explains why the RBI is taking a cautious approach to data storage. As often, serious data breaches can compromise card details.
Though as NASSCOM also points out, the RBI could tackle this with stricter storage regulations. As opposed to an outright ban on storing data altogether.
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Western Union Business Services, the payments arm of Western Union, is looking at expanding its cross-border payment services for business customers, a press release says.
According to the release, Western Union Business Services has integrated SWIFT Global Payments Initiative and also boosted its international currency options.
“We are continuously advancing our capabilities to give our clients the tools to access the growing global marketplace. Adding GPI Swift and expanding our currency portfolio within our Mass Payments API advances not only our competitive advantage but that of our customers”, said Scott Johnson, Head of Product at Western Union Business Solutions. “Customers expect, and now have, payments that are faster, traceable, transparent, consistent, and more reliable. We give them that, along with our global compliance program.”
The integration of the SWIFT network will help the company utilize a new level of their services for operational efficiency for business customers. Clients will be able to access better visibility as well as “certainty” that their money will reach where it needs to go.
In addition, the release says the increased currency support will “expand their reach, improve efficiencies and transact in more currencies by integrating a flexible global payments network into their own product or service.”
With WU Mass Pay, recipients with built-in, real-time cross-border payments will find better, more seamless experiences, the release says, with the ability to send up to 10,000 payments in over 130 currencies. Real-time payment tracking and automated changes to payment status are also available, the release notes.
Western Union CFO Raj Agrawal talked to PYMNTS last year about the company’s better-than-expected quarterly numbers even in the face of the pandemic. He said there was a greater demand for customers to send and receive money, both at home and abroad.
According to Agrawal, the travel restrictions made necessary by the pandemic have made digital remittances more necessary.
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