India’s central bank has blocked the introduction of Apple Pay on the subcontinent.
Apple (AAPL) abandoned plans to offer its digital wallet in India after negotiations with the United Payments Interface (UPI) broke down, The Economic Times reports. The UPI is the Reserve Bank of India sponsored effort to create a standardized digital payment system.
Disturbingly, the Reserve Bank concluded Apple Pay is not secure enough. The Reserve Bank wanted Apple to store data in-country. Probably so the Reserve could regulate it.
Apple said no which should worry American users. Apple might not want the Reserve Bank to see its security measures. I have to wonder just what Apple is hiding about Apple Pay.
Why Apple Pay is not in India
Another hurdle was a requirement that Apple Pay users enter a four digital verification code for every transaction.
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) refused to let Apple Pay offer transactions with just finger verification. The NPCI is the organization that runs the United Payments Interface for the Reserve Bank.
The NPCI’s demand is sensible here, because a criminal could use the finger of a dead or unconscious person to unlock Apple Pay. Apparently tech solutions designed by engineers in San Jose are not safe for the lawless streets of emerging nations.
Conversely, Apple’s fingerprint demand is also reasonable because anybody can steal a four-digit code. Still, the NPCI is right to demand a two-step verification process. One has to wonder why America’s Federal Reserve doesn’t follow suit.
WhatsApp Payment Delayed in India
Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has dropped plans to offer Amazon Pay in India, and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) has put WhatsApp Payments for India on hold because of the NPCI’s demands.
A dispute between India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the NPCI is delaying WhatsApp Payments release, The Economic Times reports.
Facebook and the ICIC Bank have been testing a WhatsApp Payments solution based on NPCI technology for some time. Facebook has announced no launch date for WhatsApp Payments’ general rollout.
The only other American payment app available in India is Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google Pay. The Google Pay available in India uses quick read (QR) code to communicate with registers. The Google Pay in the United States and Europe utilizes a wireless signal to start transactions. India’s Google Pay uses the four digit code the NPCI is requiring for Apple.
Several digital payment providers, including PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) are staying out of India because of red tape, The Economic Times reported.
If Apple Pay is not safe in India, is it Safe for America
It will leave American skeptics wondering if there are serious security holes or flaws in Apple Pay. The refusal of American regulators to examine the technology, and America’s tech press to report honestly on Apple Pay might put many people at risk.
If you think this sounds paranoid. Ask yourself why are giant American retailers; like Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Kroger (NYSE: KR), refusing to accept Apple Pay? What do the NPCI, the Reserve Bank of India, America’s largest retailer, and America’s largest standalone grocer know about Apple Pay that makes them scared of it. Perhaps Congress should put that question to Apple CEO Tim Cook.