Info-tech

With Tez, Google joins post-note ban mobile payments race

K.R.Srivats New Delhi | Updated on January 10, 2018

google-tez   -  BusinessLine

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The India-focussed app is powered by government’s Unified Payments Interface

Internet search giant Google on Monday launched its Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based digital payment service by the name ‘Tez’.

With this move, Google has become the latest international company to enter the fast-growing digital payments industry in India.

Taking Google’s commitment to the Indian market to the next level, the app is powered by UPI, a payments protocol built by the government-backed National Payments Corporation of India.

Tez, which means ‘speed’ in Urdu, was launched by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at an event in the capital.

The launch will put Google on a collision course with SoftBank- and Alibaba-backed mobile wallet provider Paytm.

Speaking at the event, Jaitley said he believed that the need for finding alternatives to the high-cash economy was never the centre stage of India’s economic agenda.

“We have all got into a habit of living in a high-cash economy and paying its costs,” he said.

Demonetisation tests

Jaitley outlined three tests (red lines) on the basis of which he would like to assess the outcome of the demonetisation.

“These are: how much high-value money that the RBI prints are we able to squeeze out, how much are we able to expand the tax base, and the third is how much is the increase in the number of digital transactions,” he said.

“I am very confident that on all the three counts — both in medium and long term — the advancements will be in a positive direction”

Jaitley also expressed confidence that what started as a “compulsion” for digitisation would soon turn into “convenience” with the launch of Tez.

Cash is the rival

Diana Layfield, Vice-President, Head of Finance and Commerce Products of Google’s Next Billion Users team, later told reporters that Google sees itself competing against cash.

“We don’t see ourselves competing against other players. Our competition is cash,” Diana said.

Layfield also said Google is not looking to monetise Tez for now. She said customers of 55 Indian banks on the UPI platform can now use the app.

Caesar Sengupta, Vice-President of the Next Billion Users team at Google, said Tez was built for India first.

“This starts us on a journey to make digital payments simpler and more accessible to everyone. We want to combine the best of Google with the best from our partners — Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India — to supercharge digital payments and commerce for as many Indians as possible and help them get the most from every rupee,” Sengupta said.

Google Tez, which is available both on iOS and Android platforms, supports several local languages including Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.

Srivats.Kr@thehindu.co.in

Published on September 18, 2017

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