Looks like Google is launching a mobile payment service called Google Tez in India next week. The Ken (paywall) was the first to report this development. The report mentions that Google will be integrating third-party wallets like Paytm and Mobikwik on the platform, and that the service will be available for the desktop and as a Chrome widget, besides an app.
We checked the Controller General of Patent, Design and Trade Marks’ website and found a Wordmark application for ‘Tez’ filed by Google Inc. on June 27, 2017. The description of this service details the following:
Financial affairs; monetary affairs; electronic funds transfer; financial transaction services; provision of electronic contactless payment services; financial transaction services, namely, providing secure commercial transactions and payment options using a mobile device; electronic credit card transaction processing, debit card services, pre-paid purchase card services, namely, processing electronic payments made through prepaid cards, processing electronic payment through pre-paid cards, and processing electronic payments made through loyalty cards; electronic payment, namely, electronic processing and transmission of credit card transactions, wireless wallets, mobile wallets, electronic wallets, wireless credit, debit and pre-paid card transactions; credit card and transaction processing terminal services using near field communication (NFC) technology
In July this year, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) MD and CEO AP Hota had confirmed that NPCI had forwarded Google’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) enabled payment service plan to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for approval. It’s not clear if Google has now received approval from RBI or not.
We had written to Google for confirmation and to learn more about the service, and the company replied back with an invitation for a press conference to be held on Monday, September 18 in Delhi to launch a new product “developed grounds up for India.” So, we can expect more details about Google Tez then. It looks like the payment system will be part of Google’s Next Billion Users team, given that Caesar Sengupta, VP of Next Billion Users, will be addressing the media at this press conference. Next Billion Users is primarily focused on mobile and aims to address issues such as low bandwidth & intermittent connectivity, conserving data usage, reducing battery consumption, developing multi-device content, supporting more digital payments systems, and creating localised content among others.
The company has launched a number of services and made acquisitions as part of its Next Billion Users plan, including:
- Google Station, a public WiFi platform, which is live in over 100 railway stations across India in partnership with RailTel.
- YouTube Go, a data-optimised version of the YouTube app specifically for India and other emerging markets.
- Acquired Bangalore-based Halli Labs, which focuses on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. The founder of Halli Labs, Pankaj Gupta is now the director of engineering of the Next Billion Users team.
It remains to be seen if Google Tez will be Android Pay with a new name or if any India-specific changes have been made. Android Pay had been launched in May 2015 and has thus far been primarily focused on the North American market. Earlier this year, Google and PayPal inked an agreement allowing Paypal accounts to be used as a checkout option on Android Pay. The company also operates the mobile wallet service Google Wallet.
- As of March 31, 2017, Paytm claims to have over 218 million wallet users, however it didn’t disclose how many of these are active.
- Whatsapp is also getting closer to enabling payments over the UPI as the feature was spotted on a beta version of the app, in August this year.
- Flipkart-owned PhonePe is another player in this segment, which claims that it controls 80% of merchant transactions on the UPI.