A while back, we reported how there were many speculations going round the tech world about how search giant Google was contemplating on launching its very own UPI based digital payment service for the Indian market. And now, the speculations have come true as yesterday Google finally unveiled Tez, its free mobile wallet for India.

Whether it is sending money home to your family or splitting money among friends for a dinner party, Tez will let you do it all in a jiffy. Using the app, users can pay for goods securely in physical stores and online. The app links users phone directly to their bank accounts. What makes Tez standout from its competitors is the Audio QR feature, which lets users use ultrasonic sounds to exchange money, bypassing any need for NFC.

Tez can be considered Google's effort towards replacing cash transactions in India and becoming a more integral part of how people pay for utilities, using their smartphones. The search giant has collaborated with several major banks in the country by taking the way of UPI (Unified Payments Interface) — a single window mobile payment system launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) with backing from the Indian government.

During the launch, Google also revealed that phones coming to the market from Lava, Micromax, Nokia and Panasonic will soon come with Tez preloaded.

Speaking to TechCrunch, a spokesperson shared that Google has confirmed to him that payments made and taken using UPI will be free for both consumers and small merchants. It is currently unclear on how Google is considering on keeping this going as tech giant brings on the functionality to upload cards to the Tez wallet. For the uninitiated, card usage comes with a transaction fee.

While Google's Tez might pose the maximum threat to India's homegrown numero uno payments app PayTM the two apps are quite different from one another. Tez like PayTM isn't a mobile wallet, where money is stored in the app and needs to be topped up in order to be used; it’s more on the lines of how Apple’s Wallet functions as it also links users phone directly with their bank accounts to let them use their phone as a way to deduct payments from those accounts.

Google's AQR is its own proprietary technology. This is the first time the tech giant has used the technology for payments, although it has used ultrasonic sound for transferring information between devices before. Lisnr and Chirp are some of other startups that have used audio-based “codes” to transfer payments and other data before Google's Tez.

While Tez is currently being launched only in India, Google has also trademarked the service's name in other Asian countries like Indonesia and the Philippines. This means, there might be a possibility of expanding the service to other regions.

Tez is being launched on both, iOS and Android.

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