Google India is all set to launch a new payment app called “Tez” (fast). The app will likely be launched at a press conference on 18 September in New Delhi by Caesar Sengupta, Vice President, Next Billion Users, Google.
The new product, developed ground-up especially for the Indian market, is aimed at the rapidly growing digital payment market in India which is expected to touch $500 billion by 2020, according to a report by GSMA and Boston Consulting group.
Tez is a multi-layered app that offers a comprehensive set of payment options in India. It will include support for Unified Payments Interface(UPI), a single window mobile payment system launched by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) as well as the other consumer payment services including Paytm and MobiKwik. It will be available both on the desktop, as a Chrome weight, and will be rolled out as an app on Google’s Play store or will be pre-installed on the operating system and introduced as part of future updates to the operating system.
The UPI-based services will be integrated into other applications, including e-commerce, mobility, over-the- top apps and google’s own suite of apps, Play music/Movies (for subscription) and Play Store (for paid downloads).
Globally, Google has had only limited success with its mobile payment systems. Two years ago the company launched AndroidPay following the failure of its earlier product Google Wallet, which despite being a pioneer among phone technology providers, couldn’t garner enough users. Android Pay, which was launched in 2015, still has only a quarter of the number of users that Apple Pay does, according to 2017 research by Juniper.
Google’s entry into payments come at a time when India’s digital payments ecosystem is burgeoning. With a 57% market share, Alibaba-backed Paytm currently dominates in a market crowded with several mobile wallet players such as Tencent-backed Hike Messenger, MobiKwik, FreeCharge, Oxygen, Citrus Pay, Phone Pe, PayU, ItzCash, Jio Money and Ola Money. Even global companies like Truecaller and Uber have entered the payment space in India with Facebook-owned WhatsApp working to grab a slice of India growing mobile wallet pie.
In such a scenario, it may just be the right time for Google to launch Tez. Apart from the potential for top-line growth, entering India’s mobile wallet space could also give Google greater access to far more user data, something it thrives on.
Google has been spending its resources and launching new products and programmes target “the next billion” internet users that include the rail WiFi programme and data optimized apps like YouTubeGo. Launching Tez is a logical step in that direction.