After Indian government announced demonetization last year, analysts, consultants and digirati began to frantically predict the boom in ‘digitization’ of payment sector including advent of Peer-to-peer payment apps, mobile payments etc. (link). Also ref: India’s Cash Ban Is the Best Thing to Happen to Digital Payments.
The long march towards digitization of currency in India has certainly begun, and today’s announcement (18th Sept) by Google is a move by yet another online giant to carve out a niche in this space. The launch of payment App called ‘Tez’ (fast) on the Android and Apple App store (link) will allow Indian users to
“Send money home to your family, split a dinner bill with friends, or pay the neighbourhood chaiwala. Make all payments big or small, directly from your bank account with Tez, Google’s new digital payment app for India.”
The platform will allow users to engage in financial transactions like sending money, receiving payments directly into their bank accounts and paying bills. The platform is built on the government’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI). Some of the key features announced include
- Money continues to remain user’s bank till payment is made: Tez is connected to the user’s bank account. Tez works with over 55 banks in India that support Indian UPI payment (link http://www.npci.org.in/UPI_Livemembers.aspx)
- Secure payments: The ‘Tez Shield’ is designed to detect fraud, prevent hacking, and verify user’s identity.
- Peer-to-peer payment: Users can use ‘Cash Mode’ to send money to another Tez user instantly without sharing private details like their bank account or phone number.
- Online payment: Tez makes it convenient to pay on apps and websites where UPI is accepted.
- Multi-lingual and multi-device support: Tez claims to work with the vast majority of smartphones — so you can pay or get paid by almost anyone. Tez comes with support for popular langEnglish, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu.
During the launch, Google also announced incentive programs to entice Indian users. It is offering incentive of 51 rupees to users to refer family and friends to the platform. Users can refer the app to as many people as they want although the maximum reward is limited to the Rs 9000. Google is also offering users “Tez Scratch Cards” with each transaction.
With the weight of an internet giant, the Tez is sure to get some mileage and traction in the crowded Indian P2P payment segment. However, popular and entrenched players like Paytm are not going to yield their marketshare.