The long and fraught road for Apple to get Apple Pay into India has run into another barrier. Sources for Economic Times report that Apple has essentially put plans to go into India with the tap-to-pay service on hold for two primary reasons.
First, India recently passed rules from the India Central Bank that requires local storage of all payment data within the country. This is a big hurdle but it is something that Apple has faced in the past. The challenge, right now a least, is that Apple is waiting for the dust to settle to really understand how this new rule will be implemented. According to the report, Google is also in a wait-and-see mode with their Google Pay solution in India.
Perhaps the bigger hurdle however is the requirement that payments be authorized by a 4-to-6 digit PIN. Apple Pay leverages Touch ID or Face ID to authorize a payment, something that the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will not allow in the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in the country. This fundamentally goes against the grain of Apple Pay, and for that matter, Google Pay.
Apple announced nearly a year ago that they were coming to India with Apple Pay but did not give a timeline. Perhaps the Cupertino company could see storms on the horizon and knew it would have a tough time getting the service into India. While it is too early to say the project is dead, it is at least on hold for now.
This barrier is the latest in a long string of challenges Apple has faced in India. The company has seen falling market share and sales in the country. This lead to the replacement of three top Apple executives in country recently. That said, India is now the second biggest mobile phone market behind China so it is critical that Apple work with the Indian government and authorities to improve their position.