On Monday, Google announced the release of Tez, a mobile payments app for iOS and Android that allows users in India to send money to friends and family, and allows business owners to accept digital payments.
Tez lets users pay others directly from their bank account, rather than opening a separate account in the app or needing to reload a wallet. The app uses a Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and works with virtually all smartphones and all major Indian banks, including partners Axis, HDFC Bank, ICICI, and State Bank of India, according to Google.
Tez offers security via Tez Shield, which Google said “works 24/7 to help detect fraud, prevent hacking, and verify your identity.” Transactions on the app are secured with a user’s UPI PIN, and access to the app itself requires a Google PIN or a user’s smartphone authentication method, such as a fingerprint or access code. A 24/7 help center is also available should users need additional support.
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Tez users can also use the app to make payments on other apps and websites–anywhere UPI is accepted. And turning on the app’s “Cash Mode” feature allows users to send money instantly to other Tez users nearby, without needing to share private information such as your bank account or phone number. This feature taps a Google proprietary technology called Audio QR, which uses sound to pair a device with another one nearby. It works with any smartphone so long as it has a speaker and a microphone, and is the same tech used with Google’s Chromecast.
“Now you can transact with the simplicity of cash, but with added security,” according to Google.
Google also announced Tez for Business, which allows merchants to create a custom business channel on the app so customers can more easily find and pay them. Businesses can also send offers directly to customers via the app, instead of requiring another app install or mailing list subscription.
Business owners and stores can use the Tez app with current accounts to begin accepting digital payments immediately, according to Google. Merchants with individual accounts can receive up to ₹50,000 (about $780) per month directly to their accounts with Tez with no fees–after that, banks may charge fees or impose other requirements, Google noted. “We are working to support shopkeepers with other types of current accounts soon,” according to the post.
Interested businesses must accept UPI, and must be verified merchants with the National Payments Corporation of India and banks.
Google will not collect any fees from transactions from consumers or small businesses, a spokesperson told TechCrunch. However, it’s possible that will change once Google allows users to upload cards to the Tez wallet in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Google has no immediate plans to launch its Android Pay service in India, due to a lack of availability of NFC-enabled smartphones and penetration of compatible PoS systems, Caesar Sengupta, a vice president of product management at Google, said in a press conference on Monday. However, Tez acts in a similar manner to Android Pay and Apple Pay, connecting phones directly to bank accounts.
Apple Pay currently dominates the mobile payment landscape, with 36% of retailers accepting this payment method, compared to 34% for PayPal and 24% for Android Pay. Time will tell if Tez expands internationally and can also compete.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
1. On Monday, Google announced the release of Tez and Tez for Business, mobile payments apps for iOS and Android that allow users in India to send money to friends and family, and business owners to accept digital payments.
2. Tez connects directly to users’ and businesses’ bank accounts, so there is no need to open a separate account or wallet.
3. Interested businesses must accept UPI, and must be verified merchants with the National Payments Corporation of India and banks.