Companies

Tez aims to be a one-stop shop for all payments

VARUN AGGARWAL PRIYANKA PANI Mumbai | Updated on January 10, 2018

Diana Layfield, Vice- President, Product Management, Google

Senior executive Diana Layfield says firm is working on integrating third-party mobile wallets with the app

After becoming the default search engine for most Indians, Google now wants to be the go-to app for all your payment needs — online and offline.

“We are working at integrating credit and debit cards within the Tez app. We already have relationships with many card companies globally, which we plan to bring to India,” Diana Layfield, Vice-President, Product Management, Google, told BusinessLine.

She said Google is also working on integrating third-party mobile wallets with Tez so that users needn’t require multiple payments apps.

Tez, which is Google’s second big initiative for India after the Google Stations project (Wi-Fi at railways stations), aims to reduce cash transactions in the country. The firm intends to compete with cash instead of other payment providers such as Paytm.

“We felt the payments space was going to be exciting and this is the economy which will digitise relatively rapidly. There was a sense that this could add enormous value to India,” Layfield said.

Tez has been a project close to the heart of Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who has been involved in its development since its inception over a year ago. Tez, along with Google Station, is part of the firm’s Next Billion Users initiative, which aims to get a billion Indians online.

“We’ve been working on this for over a year. The thought of it long predates that. It involves a huge number of people across Google, distributed across the world. The conceptualisation was around what products would be interesting and deliver real value in the Indian market and where can we add real value.”

Google is also integrating Tez with Google Maps so that when users search for a place, Maps can suggest stores in that area that accept Tez. The stores will be able to make an offer to users and users in turn will be able to make enquiries. “There’s a whole another set of things that you can add to the app,” Layfield said.

For users worried about getting spammed by these stores, Google will allow you to control who can contact you and block them when required.

“We give users full control over their data and this is particularly important for Tez. Moreover, your data is portable and you can wipe out your trace,” she said.

Challenges

Layfield acknowledged that digital payments is still a challenge in India where internet connections are still patchy and people are not entirely comfortable with online transactions. “Connectivity is one major challenge. The second is, people having confidence around security. I think people need to be reassured that their money is safe. We have an extraordinary level of security. We not only take advantage of the banks’ own and NPCI’s (National Payments Corporation of India) security, we also take advantage of phone security and have a very sophisticated risk- and fraud-detection engine. And we allow you to block any user from your Tez account,” Layfield said.

Google is trying to overcome the connectivity challenge by making the data required for a transaction as little as possible, while at the same time making the app light enough so that it can also run smoothly on entry-level smartphones.

“We’ve done our best to make it a light app at just 7MB.”

Published on September 19, 2017

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