With over 300 million smartphone users in India and rapidly improving connectivity, the internet is becoming a daily part of life for many Indians. That includes messaging friends and family, searching the web for information, reading news, watching music videos, or playing games. But when it comes to paying for things in the real world — vegetables, bus fares, the chaiwallah, splitting the bill at dinner or paying on delivery for something purchased online — those smartphones often go unused. Out instead comes… wads of paper. Indians love cash.
There is a reason for this: cash is easy to use and works everywhere. But cash is easy to lose, difficult to carry around and can be easily stolen. More critically, cash makes it hard for people to build a financial track record, and could result in exclusion from services like credit and insurance.
To make digital payments truly work for India, we need a product that can compete with cash. It needs to be simple, affordable, and work everywhere and for everyone. So today we are introducing a new mobile app from Google, Tez — a simple and secure way to pay for things, big and small, online and offline, in India. Tez is a payments and commerce app built for India on top of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) standard.
Tez enables you to:
- Make cash-like payments with Cash Mode: One of the most powerful aspects of cash is that it enables you to pay others without exchanging sensitive personal information. Cash Mode enables just that by letting you pay another Tez user nearby without having to share personal details like your bank account or phone number. This is ideal for paying the auto-wallah or sabzi-wallah. Bring two phones near each other, hit pay or request, enter your UPI PIN and the payment goes instantly from one bank account to another. Cash Mode is built using our proprietary AQR (Audio QR) technology, which is similar to QR codes but more convenient and more secure. And unlike NFC, it works on almost any smartphone in India, whether Android or iOS.
- Like a chat app. Easy, fun and phone number based: Tez uses your phone’s contact list so there’s no need to add people as beneficiaries or remember complicated bank numbers. This makes it easy and quick to transact with people you know. So sending money to your family across the country, paying your landlord, or splitting a bill with a friend is simple and fast. Further, your transaction history with each person or business is grouped together like a conversation — just as chat apps group your messages together. This experience feels natural and enables richer, more engaging interactions.
- Pay, get offers and more. At offline and online businesses: Small businesses can also use Tez to accept payments directly into their savings or individual current accounts (subject to regulatory limits). But we wanted to do more to help Indian merchants unlock the potential of digital payments, so we are launching the Tez for Business program. Participating businesses will be able to interact with their customers in new ways, including securely accepting UPI payments on their mobile websites with just a few taps. These merchants will also get their own Business Channel in the Tez app itself, so users can interact and transact easily with them without needing to install multiple apps. From their customized Business Channel, merchants will be able to engage customers directly by sending smart reminders for recurring payments, sharing tailored offers, and more. Our launch partners, PVR Cinemas and redBus, will be joined by a number of other businesses like DishTV, Jet Airways and Domino’s in the coming weeks. And we’re working with our existing advertisers and online e-commerce platforms like Shopify and payment aggregators like Billdesk and PayU to bring hundreds of India’s online businesses to Tez. And today, we’re opening up the Tez for Business program so sign up here if you’re interested in learning more.
- All the power of UPI & India’s most trusted banks: Tez works with all of the 55 banks on UPI. Our first-of-its-kind multiple payment service provider partnership with NPCI and four top banks in India — Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank today and soon with the State Bank of India — means you can use Tez to transact with other UPI apps like BHIM or even check out online using your Tez UPI ID. It doesn’t cost you anything to use Tez, and your money stays in your bank so you continue to earn interest. And best of all, because Tez works directly with your bank account, there's no need to top-up a wallet balance or pay fees to get money out.
- Protected by the Tez Shield: Backed by Google’s expertise in security and machine learning, Tez Shield works 24/7 and uses multiple signals to help detect spam, fraud, prevent hacking, and to verify and protect the identity of every user. Your account is also safeguarded with security options including your phone security method such as passcode or fingerprint and a Google PIN code. And if you ever need help, our customer service team is available all day, every day by phone or chat support.
- Made for India first: Tez works on the vast majority of India’s smartphones (with apps for both Android and iOS) and Android supports English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu with more coming soon.
But this is just the beginning. In the next few weeks and months we’ll be working with our partners to add even more ways to pay on Tez (e.g. credit cards and wallets) and more places to pay. And select phones from our manufacturer partners Lava, Micromax, Nokia Mobile, and Panasonic will come with Tez, making it even easier to get started.
Tez is available today on Google Play and the App Store, and we’re excited for you to try it. We hope you’ll like our fresh approach to digital payments and commerce and that Tez will help make your life a little bit easier. This is just one step in a long and important journey towards enabling a cashless India — a crucial component of a Digital India.
Posted by Caesar Sengupta, Vice President, Next Billion Users Team