Google Tez aims to revolutionize the digital payment landscape in India
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Google has forayed into the highly contested digital payments space in India with the launch of its new service, Tez. Tez, which means 'swift' in Hindi, lets users use their bank accounts for payments directly without the need to add the recipient as a beneficiary or fill up additional online wallets. It also comes with the added advantage of not needing NFC but instead, works using Google's own AudioQR technology.
The idea of Tez is to fully substitute conventional cash transactions with digital payments. With the incumbent Government pushing for digital transactions, the service couldn't have come at a better time. For Tez to function, users need to download the Tez app (obviously!) available on Android and iOS (sorry Windows Phone users) and link their bank accounts to the app. Supported banks include Axis Bank, HDFC, ICICI, State Bank of India, and many others that support the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) standard. UPI allows for instant transfer of money 24x7 but there is a cap of ₹100,000 (US$1558) or a maximum of 20 transactions per day. Google has also roped in online partners of the likes of RedBus, Jet Airways, Dominos etc. and customers can directly pay for these services using Tez. The app supports two-factor authentication and is currently available in 8 languages including English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu. By employing AudioQR, Tez negates the need for NFC capabilities on phones. AudioQR works by using ultrasonic sound waves to pair up with another phone. This makes it instantly convenient for widespread usage. India has been traditionally dependent on paper currency for much of its transaction.
With Tez, Google hopes to tap into the 350 million user strong smartphone market in India and hopefully, expand to other Asian countries in the process as well. Right now, Tez is focused towards individuals and small merchants who will be essentially getting the service for free. Other businesses can get registered online to accept payments via Tez. It is not yet known how enterprises will be charged (if at all) for the service.