The burgeoning payments market in India is attracting established global players, and Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL) Google is aiming to increase its market share with new launches. At the annual Google for India event, the company announced it was rebranding its erstwhile mobile payments app Google Tez into Google Pay. The update is also accompanied with launch of new features, the most significant being the offer of pre-approved instant loans for users. (See also: Top 3 Mobile Wallets of 2018.)
Google Tez Secures Strong Footprint in India
Google Tez was launched in India in September 2017. It has support for localized content and several Indian languages. Owing to its cashback offers and games, the app managed to build a strong user base, especially among younger users. The company claims that it has 22 million monthly active users on Google Pay. Jointly, they accounted for over 750 million transactions with average annual transaction worth 200 billion Indian rupees (about $2.8 billion).
The rebranding to Google Pay comes as the Mountain View, California-based technology giant initiates the unification of all of its global payment offerings, with plans to launch the app in more countries. In India, the company hopes to expand its services across a host of online merchants and service providers that include ticketing, travel and leisure portals like Redbus, BookMyShow and Goibibo. It is additionally targeting to expand to over 15,000 retail stores like Big Bazaar, FBB and e-Zone.
Instant Loans Via Google Pay
The most striking feature of the updated app is its offer for instant loans. Google has partnered with a bunch of top private banks of India like Federal Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank to facilitate instant loans to customers.
“In the coming weeks, these customers will be able to use Google Pay to take out a customized loan amount from their banks, with minimal paperwork, and once they accept the bank’s terms, the money is deposited securely and instantly by their bank, into their bank account,” said Caesar Sengupta, Google’s general manager for payments.
However, the venture will face stiff competition from other popular mobile payment platforms, that include Paytm, MobiKwik, Flipkart’s PhonePe and other new players like JioMoney, which is backed by India’s most valuable company, Reliance Industries Ltd. Facebook’s WhatsApp has started beta testing its payments service in February. (See also: Berkshire Hathaway Confirms Investment in India's Paytm.)