The market watcher conducts face-to-face meetings with rival payment firms, including PhonePe, and Paytm Payments Bank, as part of the investigation, the executives said they wanted to remain anonymous.
Through its meetings, CCI will try to understand whether Google offers users the option to pay with other payment means in addition to GPay. It will also seek to determine whether Google is using user data on its platform to gain an unfair advantage for its payment platform, as well as establishing restrictions for other payment companies to gain unfair advantage. The CCI will also check Google’s compliance with the government’s zero reseller discount rate (MDR) policy.
The aforementioned executives said that when CCI ordered an investigation into GPay last November, an official investigation was launched in January with the appointment of an additional chief executive to the antitrust case.
“ CCI is just at the beginning of the research and trying to approach the issue from the perspective of Android OS and app packaging, search manipulations where Google Pay appears at the top, charging when a user is looking for a payment use case (Google search); Leveraging Google properties and data such as YouTube and Play Store to place ads for the payment service, ”said one of the three managers mentioned above.
The manager said CCI modeled its research according to the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policy, where possible data sharing between the Google product line could provide an unfair competitive advantage for the payment service.
CNIL, France’s data protection authority, fined Google $ 57 million in 2019 for failing to obtain user consent for ad personalization, citing a blatant violation of GDPR norms.
Digital payment platforms in India had previously complained that GPay was the default option for payments on the Google Play Store, and claimed that the US company abused the market dominance of the Android mobile operating system to receive arbitrary 30% commission for in-app purchases. Apps that are listed on Play Store and change ad keywords to transmit GPay.
Google denied the allegations in its response to CCI last July.
“Google’s 30% in-app commission is also being questioned in this particular study,” said the third manager.
PhonePe and Paytm declined to comment. CCI and GPay did not respond to emailed questions.
Two of the three people mentioned above, talks with other payment companies are expected to improve the competition’s understanding of the digital payment ecosystem.
“ CCI is trying to learn about the digital payment ecosystem and how Google can opt for Google Pay for payments on different platforms through possible data sharing models between the payment institution and sister platforms such as Google Play. Second manager improves the payment experience. and provides an unfair advantage over other applications by increasing the downloads, “he said.
The manager also said that the sharing of data between platforms by Google could lead to an “unfair advantage” by causing faster payments for purchases on Google’s different platforms.
This is the third antitrust case pending against Google and its subsidiaries in the country. In 2019, CCI launched a study on Google that restricts smartphone manufacturers from opting for alternative operating systems (OS) and from including the search engine and Google apps in the mobile operating system.
In October 2020, CCI was also examining a complaint claiming that Google was abusing its dominant market position in smart television operating systems.