FinTech: Indian FinTech Paytm Takes On Google, Alleges “Arm-Twisting”

September 21, 2020 | FinTech, News
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Paytm was removed temporarily from the Play Store allegedly because it violated rules related to gambling.

Paytm, a major Indian payment app and fintech, said Friday that its app had been pulled from the Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Play Store because its recently launched “Paytm Cricket League” was allegedly violating policies regarding gambling.

The Play Store said: “Your app contains content that doesn’t comply with the Gambling policy as it offers games with “loyalty” (e.g. engagement or activity) points that (1) are accrued or accelerated via real-money purchases which (2) can be exchanged for items or prizes of real-world monetary value.”

On Sunday, Paytm hit back with a strongly worded, and a detailed, blog post on the fracas. It alleged that Google arm-twisted the company to remove a UPI cashback scheme. (The Hindu)

“Unjustified”

Paytm said that Google Play Store unjustifiably removed its app from the Play Store and arm-twisted it to remove a UPI cashback scheme. It said that the Play Store’s own digital payment app, Google Pay, has been running a similar promotion.

“We maintain that our cashback campaign was within guidelines, as well as all laws of the land. We did not break any rules and there was no violation. It is not related to gambling in any manner whatsoever,” Paytm said.

“This will be familiar to all Indian internet companies since they face similar arm-twisting and fear of Google’s dominance over India’s digital ecosystem every day,” Paytm added.

Paytm also alleged that “contrary to accepted practice, we were not given any opportunity to respond to the concerns or put forth our views.”

Google Pay runs similar campaigns

Paytm went on to say that Google’s own payment app, Google Pay, regularly ran similar campaigns in India. Specifically, it pointed to the latter’s “Tez Shots” campaign, which clearly said: “Score runs on assured rewards worth up to ₹ 1 lakh.”

Paytm said sarcastically: “Presumably, such cashback campaigns of Google Pay are not in breach of Play Store policies, or maybe they are, but a different set of rules apply to Google’s own apps.”

Bigger question

Paytm’s punch line:

“There is a bigger question here that the Indian startup ecosystem and developers should think about. As a startup, we are running law-abiding businesses and building for India. Google and its employees are making policies which are over and above the laws of our country, and are arbitrarily implementing them.”

Related Story:     Ant Financial Looks to Inject $1 Billion into Asian Tech Startups                                              

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