Use Google's UPI-based payment solution 'Tez' starting next week

Google is likely to announce its UPI-based payment solution for India on Monday. The application would be named Tez, according to online media start-up The Ken. 

With Tez, Google would join global Internet firms, such as Truecaller, in tapping the government-backed payment standard to develop its FinTech play in the country.

The Internet search giant had been working with the National Payments Corporation of India to develop its UPI payments service, and for the past month had been waiting for an approval from Reserve Bank of India for a launch. 

Google’s new payment solution is expected to be baked into its Android Pay application, which allows users to pay for products on the Web, at retail stores and within its own application ecosystem. The company is partnering with several banks to enable payments through UPI in India. 

Google’s chief rival Facebook is also working on integrating payments through UPI in India. Its messenger app WhatsApp is developing a way for customers to pay businesses through chat. A person aware of these developments, however, said that Facebook and WhatsApp were still some time away from deploying their UPI payment services.

In India, Google’s Android operating system powers nine out of 10 smartphones, giving the company a huge base of potential customers. However, given the massive problem of fragmentation of Android, it is not known if Google would be able to pre-install Android Pay on these devices.

If Google launches Android Pay in India soon, it would beat Apple, who has dominated the mobile payments space in the US with its own payment service. 

Flipkart-owned PhonePe, through its integration with parent e-commerce website, claims it does the maximum number of person-to-merchant payments on UPI in the country.

Given Google’s might on the Internet, it could enable person-to-merchant payments on the Web and grow quickly. Even in the offline world, the company might look at a partnership with banks, merchants and POS providers to enable payments through NFC or even QR codes, riding on the fact that 95 per cent of the country’s smartphone users can use the service.

Unlike in the US, where these services are given a free run, in India, the RBI has ensured that they partner with banks, slowing down their entry. The steady growth in the use of UPI by third-party applications comes as NPCI is planning to roll out the second version of the payment standard. 

While NPCI’s own BHIM payments app has garnered significant traction since its December launch, the major use case for the app has been person-to-person payments.

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