UPI based Google Tez digital payments app launched in India

As expected, Google has today announced the launch of its digital payments application in India, named Google Tez. The mobile application marks the entry of Google in the India’s digital payments sector.

The Google Tez application will be available on both Android and iOS platforms. It is powered by Unified Payment Interface (UPI), a payments protocol built by government-backed organisation NPCI.

The app allows users to link up their phones to their bank accounts to pay in physical stores as well as online. It also allows peer-to-peer money transfers. It also supports various local languages including Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.

Google says that it has partnered with four banks for this new service — Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and SBI Bank. The app is live with three banks at launch, while SBI Bank will be joining soon.

The Google Tez also has a ‘cash mode’ which allows users to make secure payments without sharing their details like phone number or bank account. This mode uses audio QR — an ultrasound wave to enable the payment between 2 nearby phones. Commenting on this mode, a Google executive said, “it works on almost all phones sold in India. With Cash Mode, we have made paying digitally as easy as paying via cash.”

On the security front, Google says that all the transactions are guarded by ‘Tez Shield’ which as per the company, detects fraud, prevent hacking, and verify identity. It has also introduced an additional PIN layout to protect from unauthorised usage.

To boost the usage of its app, Google has partnered with several popular services such as RedBus, PVR Cinemas, Domino’s Pizza, DishTV and Jet Airways, as its launch partners.

Caesar Sengupta, the head of Google’s Next Billion programme said that Google is also working on integrating credit and debit card payments through Tez and the feature is expected to roll out later this year.

Google Tez competes against the likes of Paytm, FreeCharge and MobiKwik among others. It will also compete against WhatsApp, which is also planning to introduce UPI payments in its app later this year.