HYDERABAD: Digital payments major Paytm is ‘persuading’ its customers to provide Aadhaar as proof for Know Your Customer (KYC) authentication, allege several customers of the app who spoke to Express. According to RBI rules, several ID proofs are acceptable for the mandatory verification process and the 12-digit unique ID is just one of them.
A Facebook post regarding this issue published by Delhi-based mobilisation strategist and Paytm customer Brikesh Singh went viral on Wednesday. He alleged that, at different stages of completing the KYC, he was ‘forced to part with his Aadhaar number. Express spoke to several other customers who narrated similar experience. “The app screen asks for Aadhaar number in bold, but at the bottom of the screen there is an option to provide other ID proofs,” Singh told Express.
“I chose to give my passport details after which I got a call from customer care and an appointment was fixed with a Paytm representative. Before coming home to collect my documents, the customer care executive asked me to keep my Aadhaar number ready. I reminded her that I am authenticating using my passport details. However, the agent turned up with a biometric reader for Aadhaar-based authentication. He said he did not know how to authenticate using passport details.
When I refused to provide Aadhaar, he asked me to visit a Paytm centre,” says Singh. Later, Singh went to a centre at GoMobile store in Modi Tower, Nehru Place. It was only then he realised that Paytm’s KYC authentication at the centre was being handled by representatives of Jio and Airtel who sell sim cards. Singh says the people there refused to accept any form of document other than Aadhaar. “Following this, I reached out to Paytm on social media and over phone, but the response I got was not satisfactory.”
Paytm spokesperson evaded questions on why the company executives were insisting on Aadhaar number despite RBI guidelines making it amply clear that several other documents are valid for KYC authentication of payments bank accounts. Interestingly, the Supreme Court had on Tuesday raised concerns over the potential misuse of Aadhaar authentication data collected by private companies for commercial use and said that safety measures put by UIDAI may not be sufficient to deal with the problem.