NEW DELHI :
Indian digital payments firm Paytm on Friday said its mobile app was back on Google’s android store after the U.S. tech giant kept it offline for several hours, citing the SoftBank-backed company’s violations of its gambling policy.
“Update: And we’re back!” Paytm told users on Twitter, some of whom had expressed concerns about their money in the company’s digital wallet and bank.
Earlier on Friday, Alphabet Inc’s Google said in blog post that it did not allow “online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting.”
“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,” it added.
Google on Friday removed the payments app Paytm from its Android store, citing violations of its gambling policy by the Indian fintech unicorn, which is backed by SoftBank, Alibaba and Berkshire Hathaway among others.
“We don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting,” the U.S. tech company said in a blog post.
“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,” said Alphabet Inc’s Google, in the blog post. “It is a violation of our policies.”
The blog post did not name Paytm, but Google separately confirmed the removal for policy violations.
A Paytm spokesman also confirmed that Google had removed its app.
Launched a decade ago as a platform for mobile recharging, Paytm grew quickly after ride-hailing firm Uber listed it as a quick payment option. Its use swelled further in 2016 when India banned certain high-value currency notes, causing an immense shortage of currency in the economy for months.
It currently competes with global players such Google Pay and Walmart’s PhonePe in India’s digital payments market which is set to more than double in value to $135 billion by 2023 from 2019, according to PwC and Indian lobby group ASSOCHAM.
The company had not breached Google policies but was running an offer that gave its users stickers, for payments and money transfers, which could then be used to redeem cashbacks – a move Google deemed as gambling, the Paytm spokesman told Reuters.
Paytm has since removed the promotion from its app, he added.
Google did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment on how Paytm’s cashback offer violated its policies.
Paytm said on Twitter it was working with Google to restore the Andriod app and assured users that their money was safe.
"All your money is completely safe, and you can continue to enjoy your Paytm app as normal," said the company on Twitter.
“We have these policies to protect users from potential harm. When an app violates these policies, we notify the developer of the violation and remove the app from Google Play until the developer brings the app into compliance. And in the case where there are repeated policy violations, we may take more serious action which may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts. Our policies are applied and enforced on all developers consistently,” said the blog post that didn't name Paytm.