CCI To Investigate Antitrust Claims Against Google Pay: Report

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is trying to understand if Google is giving users the choice to pay through platforms apart from Google Pay.

February 22, 2021 / 10:58 AM IST

Google Pay

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has begun an investigation to examine whether Google Pay has abused its dominance in the digital payments market.

In connection with the antitrust case, the CCI is holding face-to-face interviews with Google Pay’s rivals, including PhonePe and Paytm Payments Bank, Mint reported.

The market watchdog is trying to understand if Google is giving users the choice to pay through platforms apart from Google Pay, the report said.

The CCI is also trying to examine if Google is trying to gain unfair advantage by leveraging user data on its platform and through restrictions on other payment platforms, the report said citing sources.

The CCI will also examine if Google is complying with the government’s zero-merchant discount rate (MDR) policy, the report said.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the story.

CCI and Google Pay did not respond when contacted by Mint, while PhonePe and Paytm declined to comment.

The CCI ordered the probe in November 2020, but a formal investigation began in January after appointment of an additional director general, the report said.

“CCI is still at a nascent point of the investigation and is trying to approach the matter from the perspective of app bundling with the Android OS, search manipulations where Google Pay appears on the top when a user searches for a payment use-case such as recharge on (Google search); and leveraging Google properties and data such as YouTube and Play Store to plant advertisements for its payment service, through ad personalization,” a source told the paper.

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