NEW DELHI: Everyone wants a pie in the ever-growing payments market in India. Months after Facebook-owned WhatsApp started beta testing of its payment services and a day after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway confirmed buying stakes in Paytm, it is now Google that has announced additional features to grab a bigger share in the digital payments space. Google on Tuesday rebranded its payments app Google Tez into Google Pay and announced offering instant loan services to its users.
“The world has taken notice of India’s digital payments success and our deep investments here with Tez,” Google said. It had launched the Tez app in India last year and at present has 22 million active monthly users. The search engine giant, who is battling the likes of WhatsApp that has over 200 million active users and Paytm, the largest player in the segment, is also eyeing to expand its reach in the fiercely competitive payments space.
Credit Suisse estimates that the Indian digital payments market will touch $1 trillion by 2023 from about $200 billion currently. Google said that its services will soon be available at over 2,000 online merchants and e-commerce websites including Redbus, BookMyShow and Mi, besides over 15,000 retail stores.
The company also announced working with four private banks — HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Federal Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank — to provide instant pre-approved loans to users. This feature will be rolled out to eligible users within the next few weeks.
While the announcements made by Google to expand its reach look promising, the success of it and other players extending payment services is partially dependent on the adaptability of WhatsApp’s payment service to Indian users, said a fintech analyst, requesting anonymity. At present, the messaging app is in the middle of a regulatory hurdle that has delayed its full-fledged launch. Apart from Google Pay, Google, in its annual event Google for India, also announced working with vernacular publishers (newspaper and magazines) on ‘Project Navlekha’, which will help them go digital.