While Google has done a decent job of expanding Android Pay to more and more markets around the world since launching the digital wallet platform in the US almost two years ago to the day, the search giant found itself at a major disadvantage in the battle against Samsung across less-developed Asian countries.
Despite the rapid recent growth of India’s mobile industry, for instance, NFC-enabled smartphones are far from prevalent, not to mention the regional scarcity of point-of-sale terminals equipped with the technology.
Samsung Pay uses magnetic secure transmission (MST) functionality in addition to near-field communications, but Google goes a step further in making mobile payments simple, affordable and ubiquitous.
Meet Tez, a convenient and safe solution for online and offline transactions, big and small. Not only does Tez support a whopping 55 Indian banks enrolled in the UPI (Unified Payments Interface) program, including Axis, HDFC and ICICI Bank, but this very straightforward Android and iOS app works much like a chat product.
That’s to say it requires minimal effort, no digital wallet registration and no information other than a recipient’s phone number, bank account or UPI ID. Your money stays in your bank account until you actually transfer it to a friend, family member or even complete stranger, earning interest and all that, with something called Tez Shield in charge of protection against fraud, hacking or identity theft.
Last but certainly not least, a near-magical Cash Mode feature lets you pay a nearby Google Tez user without sharing any personal details whatsoever. Just bring the two phones close to each other, and let Audio QR replace NFC with inaudible sounds authorizing quick and secure transactions. We almost wish this weren’t “made for India first”, though an international spread of sorts is still a definite possibility.