US tech giant Google on 18 September unveiled 'Tez'- a simple and secure mobile app for digital payments and commerce, built with the goal of working for everyone in India, and is available now for download on Google Play (Android) and the App Store (iOS).
Built on the Indian government-supported Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the newly launched Tez allows users, free of charge, to make small or big payments straight from their bank accounts.
The app was built for India, working on the vast majority of the country's smartphones and available in English and seven Indian languages (Hindi, Bengali, Gujrati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu). Tez works in partnership with four Banks - Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and State Bank of India (SBI) - to facilitate the processing of payments across over 50 UPI enabled banks.
"Tez was built for India first - and starts us on a journey to make digital payments simpler and more accessible to everyone. We want to combine the best of Google with the best from our partners - Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and State Bank of India - to supercharge digital payments and commerce for as many Indians as possible and help them get the most from every rupee," said Caesar Sengupta, Vice President of the Next Billion Users team at Google.
"With Tez, we are not just building an app but working towards a digital ecosystem that brings together millions of smartphone users, small merchants, large businesses, and financial institutions - all built on the UPI infrastructure that NPCI and the Indian government have taken great initiative in developing," said Vice President Head of Finance and Commerce Products, Next Billion Users, Diana Layfield.
"We look forward to bringing more features and innovations to meet people's needs, and providing businesses with more ways to interact with their customers," added Diana.
Tez's 'Cash Mode' securely sends money from person to person with just a few taps. By pressing and holding the Cash Mode buttons at the same time, two people using Tez are able to make a secure transaction in seconds without needing to share private details like phone numbers or account numbers. This happens through Google's proprietary Audio QR (AQR) ultrasound technology. Recipients get the amount deposited to their bank account instantly.
Tez syncs with the contact list in users' phones, in accordance with their privacy settings. This way, users can start a transaction just by searching for a friend's name or phone number.
Transaction history with each person is grouped together like a conversation - just like how Gmail groups emails together, thus making it easier to find a particular transaction, instead of going through long statements.
It can also be used for shopping, and users can get access to tailored offers and smart reminders for upcoming payments. An integration with Chrome makes mobile web payments just like paying in an app, and users can quickly get to a business's website or contact customer support, right from Tez so they don't need install an app for every business they engage with.
Keeping in mind the increasing cyber crime and malware, Tez is backed by multiple security levels, including dedicated security systems offered by Indian banks, the NPCI, and the Tez Shield - Google's suite of security features, including a machine-learning-based fraud detection engine, device level protection, including a Google PIN, and no sharing of phone numbers or bank account numbers via Cash Mode. Customer service is available 24/7.
Google also announced a program called "Tez for Business," which offers businesses new ways to unlock the potential of digital payments and engage their customers.
Tez for business merchants get their own business channel on the Tez app where they can engage directly with their customers to share offers, send payment reminders, link to their mobile website or customer support, and more. This gives an app-like payment experience without needing to download an app.
Online businesses can integrate the Payment Request API so they can securely accept UPI payments using Tez on their mobile websites with just a few taps.
The program will be initially open to businesses with an online presence and will expand to offline merchants in the coming months. PVR Cinemas and redBus are already integrated at launch. DishTV, Jet Airways and Domino's will come on board in the coming weeks.