India: Competition Heats Up as Google Aims to Keep Payments Lead

Google has announced that its Google Pay app, which deals with mobile payments, is being promoted to businesses within India in an attempt to keep its lead over rival Facebook. Facebook is also looking to make inroads into the Indian market.

Within India there are still many unconnected businesses despite over 400 million users now online. Google has been keen to encourage more business owners to get online and they are now having another attempt by promoting the idea of online payments.

One of the huge challenges that companies face is that there is a long, complex process needed before they are able to use digital payments. At present an agent has to visit the shop or premises and carry out a verification process and Google has now discovered a way to overcome this particular challenge.

Google Pay for Business

Google Pay for Business has now been unveiled. This is a standalone app designed so that businesses are able to accept online payments without the need of an agent. They are now able to integrate this service into their business within a few minutes.

In addition, the software platform Spot allows the merchant to create their own storefronts with their own branding that customers can access via Google Pay and the business can use to showcase its offerings.

Several businesses including RedBus, MakeMyTrip, Eat.Fit and others are already using the feature and it is hoped that this new innovation will assist the growth of online financial services into the future.

Alongside Spot, Google has also developed Spot codes. These work like QR codes and can be used in store to scan a product, order it and complete payment. The customer can then come and collect their purchase later, avoiding wasting time standing in line.

Another aspect of the Spot app is a job search function where users can find jobs at entry level and higher according to their own needs. 

 Google has leveraged machine learning so that users get relevant recommendations about jobs from just two pieces of personal information: The type of job, and when they want to start. Many companies have already signed up to the feature including Swiggy, Dunzo, 24Seven and Healthkart among others.

The digital payments market in India

Google Pay launched in India 2017 under the name Tex. Between then and now the company has obtained 67 million active monthly users in the country and in 2018 processed $100billion in transactions. 

The market is set to increase too: According to Credit Suisse it is likely to reach a worth of $1trillion by 2023. At present, Google’s main competitors are PhonePe, Amazon Pay and Paytm. Paytm remains the most popular mobile wallet app in the country and investors have poured in over $2.3billion.

Google’s other innovation is to make a move towards tokenized cards. This will mean that debit and credit cardholders in India will no longer have to use their card number but can pay with a digital token instead. It is likely to roll this out to Google Pay users with a variety of visa cards and then support Rupay and MasterCard at a later date.

Google Pay relies on these new features to set it apart as a major competitor to other companies such as Facebook’s WhatsApp which already boasts more than 400 million users in India and is about to expand all of its UPI-based payments service. 

 Alongside this, the popular Paytm is also expanding in the country. Although last year it posted a loss of over $500million it has now said that there is a further $3billion investment planned in the near future.