By Ritika Sharma | 
Updated: 13th May 2022 08:13 IST

Table Of Contents

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    More On Legal Names Revealing!

Highlights of the Story

  • WhatsApp has begun alerting its users of the new version.
  • It isn’t the only place where you’ll need to use your legal name.
  • It just gained clearance from the National Payments and Settlements Institute (NPCI) to develop its payment functionality.

WhatsApp has begun detecting “legal” identities of users who have allowed UPI-based payments. These names, which may vary from profile names, will be revealed to those who receive money over WhatsApp. According to the Meta-owned instant messaging service, the change is due to NPCI UPI principles to prevent fraud.

WhatsApp has begun notifying users of the upgrade with a link to a FAQ page explaining the legal name requirement.

“Other UPI users might see your legal name when you pay on WhatsApp. This is your bank account name, “The FAQ page reads.

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The message has been trickling out to users on Android and iOS since late March, per NPCI standards. A new shortcut called About UPI payments and legal name links to the FAQ page.

Usually, WhatsApp users may choose any name up to 25 characters long. They may also use emoticons to make their profile name stand out. The new rule requires the app to identify and reveal the genuine identities of its users who signed up for the payments function.

This is to reduce the risk of fraud,” a WhatsApp official told Gadgets 360. “WhatsApp shows the recipient name on the UPI PIN screen conforming to all UPI applications.”

While other UPI-based payment applications need accurate user data, including legal names upon registration, some privacy activists disagree with WhatsApp’s requirement.

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WhatsApp Legal Names

Cashless Consumer organiser Srikanth Lakshmanan says traditional payment applications began as pure payment solutions where they implied connecting bank accounts and legal identities. “But WhatsApp is a social networking program that never needed formal titles.”

Prateek Waghre, Policy Director of the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), agreed with Lakshmanan that consumers should be careful while using UPI payments and chat.

“Paying through WhatsApp doesn’t imply you have to reveal your actual legal name. However, I believe WhatsApp should consider how to preserve users’ privacy in this use case, “He remarked.

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Lakshmanan also voiced fear that Meta may someday connect users’ Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger identities with their legal names accessible on WhatsApp. No access to users’ legal names, says WhatsApp spokeswoman Meta.

“Waitlist does not have access to this [legal] name,” the spokesman added.

According to Kazim Rizvi, founder of the public policy research tank The Dialogue, legal names is a standard requirement for all payment applications.

“As a messaging network, WhatsApp allows users to choose whatever name they like,” he said.

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WhatsApp has been working hard to increase payment use in the nation. The app just got NPCI’s approval to reach 100 million users. In addition, it began rewarding customers who pay using WhatsApp with rebates.


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