There has been a lot of buzz around UPI gateway of Digital Payment Apps in the recent times after the advent of demonetization in 2016. Following this trend, Google has released an app called ‘Tez’ (meaning fast in Hindi) focusing on the widely spoken language in India. The app supports language English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu.
But, how is Tez different from payment apps that fall into other categories like dedicated Bank Apps, Digital wallets and UPI based apps like BHIM? Google’s Tez app is similar to apps like BHIM, PhonePe etc which have utilized the concept of money transfer through UPI that enables money transfer directly from one bank account to another, unlike digital wallets like Paytm, Mobikwik etc which have to be loaded with money for the transfer.
Dedicated Bank apps dispense payment gateways like RTGS, NEFT, and IMPS to their consumers which charge from anywhere around ₹2.5 to ₹50 depending on the mode of transfer and amount of money transferred. Whereas apps like Paytm, BHIM, Tez etc do not charge any money for the transfer. All these apps have a limit for money transfer, Tez app has an upper cap of ₹1,00,000 per day compared to ₹20,000 on Paytm. Tez supports only a maximum limit of 20 transactions per day in contrast to unlimited transactions on Paytm.
Apart from this, Google’s Tez app also introduced a unique feature ‘Cash Mode’ which allows users to transfer money without having to share personal and financial information. This patented technology called Audio QR (AQR) which uses ultrasound waves to connect two phones to transfer money with one another. There were other firms like Lisnr and Chirp which used AQR for data transfer much before Google but Google was the first to use the same technology for money transfer. This AQR tech also seems to have worked in noisy environments as advertised by Google.
In a broader sense, AQR technology will cater to the diversified Indian consumer segment, the urban and rural markets, considering the fact that even today a large section of Indians use feature phones rather than smartphones. All feature phones have basic features like speaker and microphone which is sufficient for the AQR tech to function. Even though all the feature phones have Bluetooth, connecting two devices on Bluetooth is inconvenient and time-consuming even on high-end smartphones let alone the basic devices. Other service providers like Paytm use transfer through QR code which also has posed a problem as it required the users to open the camera and align it to the code on the other screen. But not everyone is adept at using Bluetooth or QR tech. With Tez, devices don’t necessarily have to equipped with NFC chip or bear with hassles of Bluetooth or QR codes. Something as basic as that will make digital payments accessible for netizens across the country.
Tez also stands as a portal for businesses to create custom channels. This creates a platform for the businesses to interact with the customers directly, thereby enabling them to share special offers, subscriptions, loyalty programs etc on the Tez app itself without having need of a standalone app for their business.