by Apurva Venkat

Is Google’s Tez too late to the digital payments game in India?

Sep 20, 2017
E-commerce ServicesInternetInternet Security

Google says in less than 24 hours of launch its payment app Tez has over 500k users and the GMV was close to Rs 2 crores. But will people switch to Tez and why?

Google has become the latest entrant in the digital payment space in India. On Monday, the company announced Tez, a mobile app for payments in India. Google says in less than 24 hours of launch – it has over 500k users and the GMV was close to Rs 2 crores.However, with the ever-growing list of fintech companies such as Paytm, PayU and MobiKwik etc, is the internet giant late to the party? Will it be a game changer in India? 

“It provides promising features which are in line with the requirements. It is multilingual and covers many major languages. It is too early to say whether it can be a game changer as evolution in this business is going to continue, but yes it has the capabilities to bring some disruption as of now,” said, DD Mishra, Research Director, Gartner. However, Mishra feels that Google’s information about an individual’s preferences can play a good role in enabling the business to know their preferences and provide offers with interesting options. “ It will all depend on how fast Google can build an ecosystem of partnerships around it and continue to sustain innovations, “ Mishra added. On the other hand, Google feels the industry is still at a nascent stage with a huge potential for growth and room for innovation in this field. “ We see today as a start of a journey. We wanted to build a payments app that is as simple and accessible as cash. And we think we have unique skills in building simple and secure apps — and ecosystems that bring together users and partners,” said  Diana Layfield, vice-president, product management, Google.PayU a leading digital payments company in the India feels that  Google’s entry in the space brings more trust and provides further boost the ecosystem. ” Google and the future entrants will have an advantage over most of the first movers as the stage is already set for the nation to move towards the Digital India. People are more knowledgeable about the payment options available for transactions,” said Shailaz Nag, COO and co-founder PayUIndiaUse of sound technology for payments in India not newTez uses an audio quick response code (QR) for payments. The app currently does not support card payments, however, plans to include that soon, the company had said in its press statement. According to  Layfield reason for using the ultrasound technology was relatively few NFC enabled phones in India and longer duration of Bluetooth pairing.“We were already using ultrasound technology in products like Chromecast so it made sense to explore that further.  Audio QR made more sense as it offered a secure pairing method that is compatible with the vast majority of Indians’ mobile phones. We tested audio QR thoroughly to ensure it works in noisy and crowded places easily,” Layfield added.However, Google is not the first to make use of sound technology in the fintech space in India. Companies such as ToneTag and Ultracash already use sound technology for the same. Both the companies have a substantial number of users and have tied up with various merchants across the country.Currently, ToneTag is present in 18 million devices mainly through partnerships with banks such as Yes Bank and have also partnered with 3 lakh acceptance points in the country as of March 2017. On the consumer side the company claims they are adding 5 to 8 million consumers every month, and on the merchant side, they are adding 5,000 to 8,000 merchants every month all through partnership. On the other hand, Ultracash has more than 3 lakh merchants currently and around three and a half lack transactions daily done by 1.3 lakh consumers in Bengaluru.”Moving towards audio QR, while this may find a large audience in the rural areas where English isn’t spoken widely. In my opinion, this may not find as much acceptance in the metros, ” nag added. One has to wait to see how things play out for Tez forward.