Google Pay to bring UPI capability in Gmail, apps

MUMBAI: is saying goodbye to — the country’s account-to-account payment platform. The tech giant had launched the brand a year ago to enable transactions using .

The India-specific app will now be repositioned as — its global payments product. By bringing UPI capability under Google Pay, the Mountain View, California-headquartered company will allow users in India to send money within emails, and make purchases in its online .

Speaking to TOI, Google VP (product management) and head of Next Billion Users initiative and payments, Caesar Sengupta, said the repositioning will help the company to offer UPI functionality across all Google apps. “We feel that payment is a core functionality the way email or storage is, which come with every google account. In some countries we have a feature in Gmail where you can send money. Those are examples of some of the features we are looking at bringing to Google Pay users in India,” said Sengupta.

On Monday Google said that users of adsense — its advertising platform — could transact using UPI. It also announced a feature whereby four lenders — ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Kotak Bank and Federal Bank — will offer instant loans to their customers on Google Pay. The company has also partnered Pine Labs, an aggregator that provides credit card-acceptance services to retail chains like Big Bazaar, to accept payments via Google Pay in offline stores.

The Google Pay experience here, however, will be different. In other countries, the app works as an e-wallet that allows customers to store their card details and use their mobile phone’s near-field communication (NFC) capability for making less payments. In India, Tez was not registered as an e-wallet but as a UPI service provider. Since Tez was launched, UPI transactions have grown fourteenfold from 17 million transactions a month — with Google being one of the main drivers. Transactions soared on the back of ‘scratch cards’ that enabled users win cash rewards.

Sengupta said, “We are working on bringing other features, including NFC, to India. But there were a number of issues including technology, service integration, product testing and approvals,” he said. In India, a mobile payment service, Samsung Pay, already has tokenisation capability. This allows less payments to be made in shops without sharing card details. However, the has not given a blanket approval to payment service providers for deploying this capability.

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