Google India has today launched Tez, a mobile app for digital payments and commerce, built with the goal of connecting the next billion users in India.
The app was officially launched by finance minister Arun Jaitley. The app is powered by the government-supported Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
Tez allows users to make payments straight from their bank accounts without charging any types of fee. Available on both Android and iOS, the service enables small businesses to accept payments into their bank accounts.
The company says that it also accepts payments from mobile sites with “just a few taps.” Built for the Indian market, the service is available in English as well asseven Indian languages — Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.
Diana Layfield, vice president, head of finance & commerce products, Next Billion Users, said,
With Tez, we are not just building an app but working towards a digital ecosystem that brings together millions of smartphone users, small merchants, large businesses, and financial institutions — all built on the UPI infrastructure that NPCI and the Indian government have taken great initiative in developing.
Unlike other online payments apps, Tez can be used to transfer money without sharing mobile numbers or bank account information. An interesting feature of the app is a technology called audio QR, which allows users to transfer money using sounds to pair two devices.
For the service, Google has partnered with four Banks — Axis Bank Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, and State Bank of India (SBI). They will help to facilitate the processing of payments across the UPI-enabled banks. It also has a few launch partners, which include Domino’s Pizza restaurants, Jet Airways, RedBus and PVR Cinemas.
Apart from India, Google is also planning to release the app in other emerging countries including Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.
The service will be competing with multiple other online payments services. One of the biggest rival is Paytm, which benefited the most from the growth in digital payments since demonetization.
The social media giant — Facebook and its popular instant messaging app — WhatsApp, are also expected to roll out new features that will include option of UPI-powered peer-to-peer payments service. While no concrete timeline is available, payments feature of WhatsApp is expected to be made available by the end of this year.