Google’s foray into India’s exceedingly competitive and booming digital payments market is now official. It’s called “Google Tez”, an iOS and Android app which was leaked a few days back.
Backed up by the country’s Unified payment interface — UPI, Google Tez securely connects your phone with your bank account and allows you to transfer and receive money without the hassle of topping up a wallet first. Here’s how it works.
How to Setup Google Tez
Google Tez, like every other UPI-based app, requires your phone number for adding the bank account. The app will also request the UPI ID if you’ve created it in the past. If you haven’t, you will need to go through another step of configuring it. In case you are not aware, this ID can be employed at gateways for paying with your UPI account or by others for sending you money. Once you get past the initialization process which also lets you set up a PIN, you’ll land on Tez’s home page.
Google Tez is compatible with almost every bank in the country that supports UPI. Considering the regions it is targeting; Google has also added a bunch of local languages such as Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, and others. Other than peer-to-peer transfers, Tez can be used for paying at any outlet which accepts UPI. Google initially is also promising a bunch of offers and deals with every payment. Although they are still quite inferior when compared to existing platforms such as Paytm or PhonePe, we expect more offers pouring in with the festive season right around the corner. Google Tez is available for download for both iOS and Android without any additional costs.
Tapping the blue pay icon will commence a transaction. People you’ve contacted before will appear beside that icon in the future. Below that, you’ll find a section called “Businesses” which houses various channels by Tez’s partners. Clicking on any of these will let you pay them and view their respective offers. There is also a dedicated business portal for businesses to enroll as sellers to accept Tez payments. You can read more about that at this link. Moreover, you can view your previous transactions with the “all transactions” option down at the bottom. For money transfers, there is a limit of ₹1,00,000 or 20 transfers in a day across all UPI apps.
The “Cash Mode” is currently the key differentiating factor between Tez and other UPI-based applications. It essentially lets you send or receive money from someone nearby without exchanging any sort of private information such as scanning a QR Code or sharing your account number or ID. To achieve that, it produces a special audio signal which can be only read by another phone running the Tez app. As soon as the app detects a compatible device closeby, you can enter the amount and send/receive the payment.
Google does mention “Cash Mode” is completely encrypted and your transaction can’t be intercepted in the middle. However, I would recommend turning off a setting called “Discoverability” that enables other phones to find you on Tez. It’s merely a precautionary measure to avoid someone else accidentally sending you requests. There’s still, however, the option for QR codes available. It’s located under the three-dot menu on the top right.
As far as security is concerned, Google Tez comes protected with something called “Tez Shield” which adds a few extra layers of encryption for enabling fraud detection and identity verification. A 24×7 phone support is also available in case you need any further assistance.
Despite a few interface advantages, there is nothing different Google brings to the already crowded UPI table. Even if we ignore third-party platforms, Google Tez will have a hard time leapfrogging NCPI-backed BHIM app which has millions of users. However, Google might soon integrate Tez with Android Pay which will directly eliminate the need for a separate app as the latter comes already loaded on the majority of smartphones in India. Google has, additionally, mentioned a bunch of distribution partners at the bottom of Tez’s official web page including Nokia and Micromax. This could essentially mean that these OEMs will be preloading the app on their upcoming phones.
Another advantage Google Tez will probably have is integration with Google’s own suite of services such as the Play Store, Play Music and more. The company has also launched a food delivery and home services app recently called “Areo”. It is quite clear what Google is planning with these apps. Also, Google is offering 24×7 support for Tez which is impressive “If you ever need help, our help centre, phone, and chat support are available all day”
However, I’m not sure how will they succeed here considering the dominance of apps like Paytm in the market. In addition to that, WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app, is expected to add support for peer-to-peer payments as well in the future. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how these apps battle for coming out on the top in the coming future. I hope, though, it doesn’t become all about offers and deals.
Note: At the time of publishing this post, many users were reporting issues with adding bank accounts and making payments. We expect Google servers to be overloaded right now. That should be resolved soon.