Google restores top India payment app after one-day suspension

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An advertisement of Paytm, a digital wallet company, is pictured at a road side stall in Kolkata, India, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo

Alphabet’s Google restored Paytm, the dominant financial services app run by India’s most valuable startup, to its Play Store after suspending it for a day for violating gambling policies.

Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma tweeted late Friday that the app had been reinstated. The homegrown payments company, which provides an array of financial services and competes with Google Pay, had been running a “Scratch and Win” promotion for all payments made via its app when it was removed for violating Google’s policies against online betting.

“We don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting,” the search giant said on its official India blog. “This includes if an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes, it is a violation of our policies.”

Sharma posted a screenshot of a cash-back promotion and asked users to decide if that was gambling. The dispute between Google and Paytm, bitter rivals which vie for users, merchants and market share, illustrates the competition in India’s fast expanding digital economy. The country’s digital payments market is forecast to surpass $1 trillion by 2023, according to Credit Suisse, even as more rivals including Facebook’s WhatsApp payments service seek to compete.

The trouble arose over a Paytm Cricket League contest unveiled on Friday morning, which allowed users to win stickers featuring their favorite cricket players and then win cash for every five stickers collected.

The five-sticker game conceived by Paytm was straightforward and no more a gambling opportunity than Google Pay’s own cash-back promotions, said Madhur Deora, president, One97 Communications, which owns Paytm.

 

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