In the latest sign that Google takes India extremely seriously, the company could launch a new payment service in the country as soon as next week.
Indian news website The Ken, via TechCrunch, reports that the new payment service will be called Google Tez, which means “fast” in Hindi. The service will reportedly be separate from Android Pay, which is not available in India currently. The service could be introduced next Monday, claims The Ken.
Google Tez will integrate with Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the government-owned platform for mobile transactions, and other popular mobile wallet services like Paytm and MobiKwik.
Adoption of mobile payment services has been growing steadily in India, especially after a demonetization drive that removed large quantity of bills from circulation, creating a cash crunch in the process. With millions of new users coming online every year and fast adoption of mobile technology, the market for digital payments is estimated to reach $500 billion per year by 2020.
Back in July, the Indian press reported that Google was working with local regulators to obtain approvals for a payment service. Still, the launch of a separate service that is customized for India comes as a surprise.
The Ken spotted documents that show that Google applied for a trade mark for “Tez”. Interestingly, the company also sought to secure this brand in Indonesia and the Philippines. It’s unclear why Google would want to launch another payment service besides Android Pay, but the company is no stranger of duplicate and overlapping projects.
Google has strong competition in India – Samsung brought Pay to the market in March, the same month Truecaller added mobile payment functionality to its app. Perhaps more worrying for Google, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is not far behind – the messaging juggernaut is said to be close to adding a payment feature to its wildly popular service.