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Google set to roll out new features for Tez; exploring expansion to other countries

Radhika P Nair & Tarush Bhalla
20th Jan 2018
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It may be the newest kid on the block, but Google Tez is rapidly bulking up on the features front. The UPI-based mobile payments app will soon allow card payments and an add-on wallet as well.

Diana Layfield, Vice President of Product Management at Google said:

We absolutely believe in UPI and it is something very important for us to lead with. Having said that, we will bring credit card payments and even wallet payments. We feel most other apps are very specific either to a specific technology or to a form of payment and what we wanted to build was something broader and ecosystem based.”
Diana Google Tez
Diana Layfield, Vice President of Product Management at Google

The entire idea for the payment service is to build a platform through which people can pay whenever and wherever they like and, importantly, with the payment instrument of their choice.

Google has already introduced some cool tech innovations in Tez, like the AudioQR, which uses ultrasonic sounds to transfer money between two phones that have the app. The tech giant is set to add geo-based functionalities.

The long-term goal for the company is to help users discover merchants in the locality who are Tez enabled.

Tez was launched last September and has already seen impressive growth. Google has claimed that as of December 5, 2017, the app had 12 million active users and had processed over 140 million transactions. Though seen more as a peer-to-peer payments app, the company says over 5.25 lakh merchants are already using Tez across the country.

Google Tez has already started working with online merchants to introduce Tez as a payment method for online checkouts. Diana also confirmed that Tez will be partnering with BharatQR to expand merchant acceptability.

Why introducing cards and wallets is important

Introducing card and wallet payments allows Google to open the net on different functionalities for their payment systems.

Other markets do not have UPI and the card and wallet features will help Google launch Tez in other markets, especially in South Asia.

When questioned whether Google would take Tez to other markets, this is what Diana had to say:

Yes, for sure. We are interested in the next billion users, so we are obviously thinking about where we take Tez and its functionality next. However, there are a number of global growth markets that are quite like India but different in some respect. We work very closely in Google across all of our different products and are constantly thinking on features built in one area which we want to bring to other geographies.”

It is not just Tez that is focusing on adding new features and capabilities, other Indian payment players like Paytm and PhonePe are introducing in-app experiences.

Just days ago, Flipkart-owned payments platform PhonePe announced its in-app strategy with an integration with bus ticket booking platform redBus. The company has stated that the vision is to enable businesses of all sizes to build and deploy apps on its platform with a unified login and payments experience for customers.

However, taking the partnership route, PhonePe is aggressively looking to introduce other verticals like groceries, entertainment, food delivery among others.

Alibaba-backed payment major Paytm had also forayed into more services like movie ticketing, travel and even introduced car purchases on its platform.

There is also news in the market that global messaging giant WhatsApp plans to test its payment feature with select users in the country by this quarter.

Earlier this week, WhatsApp introduced WhatsApp Business, a separate app for businesses to get on board, allowing them to chat with consumers.

(Watch this space for the full interview with Diana Layfield on Google Tez)

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