Swedish caller identification company Truecaller on Tuesday apologised for a “bug” in the last update to its mobile application after Indian users complained that it was registering them for its payments service without their consent. The company said it was issuing a new update.
The company had launched the payments service “Truecaller Pay” in India in 2017. The service, which helps users make and receive instant payments through their bank accounts, uses the United Payments Interface. The UPI service is also used by platforms such as Google Pay, Paytm and PhonePe.
Dheeraj Kumar, a Twitter user, claimed that immediately after his app got updated on Tuesday morning, it sent an encrypted SMS from his phone to an unknown number. He then got a message from ICICI Bank, saying, “Your registration for UPI app has started.” Truecaller has partnered with ICICI Bank for the payments service.
Kumar said he did not have an account with ICICI Bank. “This is not just shady, it is the definition of fraud,” Kumar tweeted. “I will be filing an official complaint with National Payments Corporation of India about this. Registering a new UPI account with absolutely no consent from the user, Truecaller? And you’re enabling this, ICICI Bank.”
The National Payments Corporation of India, backed by the Reserve Bank of India, manages the Unified Payments Interface.
After more users shared similar complaints, Truecaller posted an update: “We have discovered a bug in the latest update of Truecaller that affected the payments feature (India only), which automatically triggered a registration post updating to the version. This was a bug and we have discontinued this version of the app so no other users will be affected.”
The company said it was sorry about the version “not passing our quality standards”. “We’ve taken quick steps to fix the issue and already rolled out a fix in a new version,” it added. “For the users already affected, the new version with the fix will be available shortly. In the meantime, they can choose to manually deregister their UPI ID from the banking/payment settings.”
One in every 10 Truecaller users in India had signed up for Truecaller Pay as of February, according to TechCrunch. More than 100 million of Truecaller’s 140 million daily users are in India. It is not clear how many users got signed up for the payments service.