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Plea filed against Google Pay on flouting UPI interoperability rules

  • The petition also said Google Pay forces consumers to create a new UPI ID or VPA to use its platform
  • All UPI payment platforms need to give a choice to users to transact using their existing IDs

BENGALURU: A writ petition has been filed against Google India’s payments app, Google Pay, at the Delhi High Court as it flouted the rules of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) interoperability.

According to the petition, which has been reviewed by Mint, Google Pay does not allow new users to use their existing Virtual Payment Address (VPAs) or UPI ID on its platform, which the consumer might have created through other UPI platforms or apps. The matter is subjudice at the Delhi High Court, with the first hearing scheduled on 14 May (Thursday).

The petition also said Google Pay forces consumers to create a new UPI ID or VPA to use its platform and shows them as new users.

Petitioner Shubham Kapaley moved the court on 5 May against the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which operates various digital payment instruments including UPI, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and Google India Digital Service Pvt Ltd.

This practice allegedly flouts NPCI guidelines on interoperability as UPI payment platforms need to give a choice to users to transact using their existing IDs.

In a circular dated 18 January, 2017, NPCI had said during UPI registrations "the merchant should allow the customer to enter his/ her VPA as an equal choice or option and not force creation of VPA for purchase or utilising the services on the merchant app."

“No merchant can/shall force the customer to create a VPA or register for UPI to avail any services on a merchant app," the NPCI circular had said.

The petition also states that the petitioner tried to make multiple payments through the Google Pay application, none of which allowed him to add his existing UPI ID.

“... the petitioner in order to contribute by way of donation in PM Cares fund in view of the covid-19 pandemic, decided to use ‘Google Pay’ application of Google India Digital Services Pvt Ltd. However, the application did not allow the petitioner to proceed with the transaction without adding account details i.e. the ‘Google Pay app’ coerces user to make another VPA/ UPI ID of Google Pay in order to make transaction through ‘Google Pay’ instead of allowing the petitioner to use the already existing VPA/UPI ID of other UPI TPAs or banks," the petition said.

The petitioner also attempted to make various other payments using the Google Pay app. However, the petitioner could not make any payment without adding account details/creating another VPA/ UPI ID on the application.

“The Google Pay app enables users with any UPI ID to make donations. Some users might not have seen this as support was rolled out in phases," said a Google spokesperson.

Google launched its payment service Google Pay, earlier called Tez, in 2017. Recently, the payment major said it has launched 'Nearby Spot' feature on its app to help users identify local stores selling groceries around them amid the lockdown.

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