Google launching Tez to compete in Indian digital payments space

Google launching Tez to compete in Indian digital payments space

Google is the latest company looking to enter India’s attractive mobile payments sector.

The US tech giant has revealed its India-only mobile app Tez, abandoning the branding of its Android Pay service that has seen success in other markets. Tez uses the Indian government’s standard interface, the UPI, which will enable compatibility with a large number of the payment services currently offered in India.

Tez does also function with both Android and iOS devices. It enables person-to-person digital cash transfers as well as acting as a debit card to pay for products in shops. In addition, Google has signed deals with the National Payments Corporation of India and three major Indian banks - Axis, HDFC, ICICI – to help boost the service’s footprint, with the State Bank of India also slated for an agreement.

Caesar Sengupta, Google VP for its Next Billion Users Team, said “to make digital payments truly work for India, we need a product that can compete with cash. It needs to be simple, affordable, and work everywhere and for everyone”, adding that Tez was “just one step in a long and important journey towards enabling a cashless India — a crucial component of a Digital India.”

Google noted that over the next “weeks and months” it would reveal new wallet functionality, along with planned credit services. Tez will be available to download, and will also come pre-installed on selected handsets from manufacturers including Lava, Micromax, Nokia and Panasonic.

The launch of Tez places Google firmly in competition in India’s already crowded financial space. Alongside operators’ mobile wallet offerings, e-commerce firms and traditional finance institutions, Google will also face competition from specialists such as Paytm, which boasts over 200 million users. In addition to these rivals, OTT apps are now moving into the space, with chat app Hike allowing its 100 million users to make financial transactions via an update in June. WhatsApp, which has over 200 million users, is also believed to be readying a similar service.

Companies are looking to carve out a share of India’s digital payments market as the government is placing increased emphasis on its Digital India push, which aims to reduce the importance of cash to the country’s economy.

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