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Google Launches New Digital Payment Application: Google Tez


“Send money home to your family, split a dinner bill with friends, or pay the neighborhood chaiwala. Make all payments big or small, directly from your bank account with Tez, Google’s new digital payment app for India,”  Google notes in its information portal about the new app. After several weeks of speculation and leaked details, Google officially unveiled its first big foray into mobile payments in Asia. The Android and Search Engine giant has launched Google Tez, a free mobile wallet in India that will let users link up their phones to their bank accounts to pay for goods securely in physical stores and online, and for person-to-person money transfers. Also introduced is a new twist: Audio QR, which uses ultrasonic sounds to let you exchange money, bypassing any need for NFC.

Tez has been launched on iOS and Android in the nation. This move will see Google linking up with several major banks in the country by way of UPI (Unified Payments Interface). UPI is a payment standard and system backed by the government in its push to bring more integrated banking services into a very fragmented market.


India, the second-most populated country in Asia after China, is a ripe market for mobile payment services, with a rapidly expanding middle class with more disposable income and a wider population that is very tech-focused, with an estimated 300 million smartphones in use today. Digital payments are expected to reach a volume of $500 billion annually by 2020, according to a report from BCG and Google.

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At the same time, the market is challenging. India has to date had a very low credit card penetration, with many services based around cash payments. The general population has been resistant to changing those habits, and the regulatory framework up to now has not made it easier. There is a lot that lies ahead for Google, to make its place firmly in the Indian Market.

Google TEZ; Not Just Another Wallet like PayTM, FreeCharge, etc

Tez is Google’s play to replace cash transactions and become a more central part of how people pay for things, using their mobile to do so. But at the same time, to be clear, Tez is not a mobile “wallet” in the same way as PayTM offers a mobile wallet, where money is stored in the app and needs to be topped up to be used; it’s more like Apple’s Wallet or other mobile wallets in the west: a place that links up your phone with your bank accounts to let you use your phone as a way to deduct payments from those accounts.

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The banks that shall support this initiative include Axis, HDFC Bank, ICICI and State Bank of India and others that support UPI. Online payment partners include large food chains like Dominos, transport services like RedBus, and Jet Airways. The application has support for English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu. Thus, serving the masses directly.

For money transfers, there is a limit of ₹1,00,000 in one day across all UPI apps, and 20 transfers in one day.

While the service has already launched in India this week, Google has also trademarked the name in other Asian countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, so there seems to be a wider strategy to expand this to other regions. So times are now changing, and initiatives like UPI have led to the rise of newer services like Tez, with the government standing behind them. It was the Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley who unveiled the ambitious project.

And in a sense, developing markets like India have even more potential for mobile-based payment services than more mature countries like the U.S., where there is already widespread use of cards for payments: there isn’t a useful and easy cash replacement service in use already that Tez is trying to disrupt. Tez, fittingly, is Hindi for “fast” — another pointer to how Google is pitching this as more convenient than what exists today. There is also a separate business portal for online companies to integrate as sellers to accept Tez payments. Also, the rewards make it a go-to application.

RTIwala Explains: Google Tez wallet
(Image Source: Google Tez)

And as Google says, Money Made Simple. We hope that Tez, as smartly pitched by Google, brings a lot of difference in the way transactions are carried on. We hope this endeavor does change things for the better.

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