Google Pay and Pine Labs have tied up to give Google Pay access to 330,000 POS terminals in 3,000 towns in India, the companies said in a statement. These payments will be made through UPI at POS counters, using the Google Pay user’s phone number, which can be authenticated by the user and processed via the app.

Pine Labs’ POS solutions are used across electronics, food & beverage, fashion, pharmacy, telecom and airlines merchants. It claims that over 100 million users bought products and services from its merchant network last year, and with the Google Pay tie up, it expects to reach newer audiences. In August last year, Google Pay partnered with Pine Labs and BillDesk, to make Google Pay available in more physical stores.

Last week, we reported that Google Pay was testing UPI based transactions with unspecified point-of-sale (POS) providers to onboard retail merchants. It was running small scale pilots with retail stores, to rollout over the next few months, and gain momentum in this market. Google did not specify which cities it is testing this in.

In India, Google Pay launched in September 2017, and claims to have 12 million users, 25 million monthly active users and 1.2 million businesses. According to a Businessline report, Google Pay’s monthly user base has gone up from 14 million in March 2018 to 45 million in March 2019. Its annualised run-rate was $81 billion this month. It also claims to be used in 300,000 cities, towns and villages in India, where 2 out of every 3 transactions are from outside the top 7 metros.

Also read: Total number of POS machines grew 19% YoY to 3.59M in December 2018

Amazon Pay’s offline focus

Earlier today, Amazon Pay was looking to start its ‘scan and pay’ payments at retail stores, which it currently provides at Shoppers Stop. It will start this at the More supermarket, which it now co-owns with Samara Capital. This was an extension of Amazon’s payments via QR codes at retail stores, which it introduced in September last year, something that rivals Paytm started doing 3 years ago, and Freecharge 2 years ago.

Offline merchant onboarding is expensive

According to payments experts and sources, offline retail payments can often be cumbersome for the on-boarding company. The payment company’s feet on the street have to sign retailers up, explain the process to them, link their bank and wallet accounts and either explain to them how to print QR codes depending on when they expire, or do it themselves on a regular basis. This becomes a cost intensive exercise.

Also read: Policy wars: After Whatsapp, Paytm trains its guns on Google Pay