The mobile payments space in India will see a host of new players this year, with Google being one of them. As per National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) Managing Director and Chief Executive A.P. Hota, Google is in advanced talks with NPCI to integrate its digital payment service, Android Pay, with UPI.
The company has completed discussions with NPCI, which has, in turn, requested the Reserve Bank of India to consider the firm’s application.
He stated, “Google is testing UPI-enabled payments. The Reserve Bank of India has to look into it. Facebook and WhatsApp are in preliminary talks as well. Google and apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook will have a pervasive presence in India. Such an integration is technologically possible but we are waiting for the Reserve Bank of India’s approval. Such a move can make a difference as these companies can bring in volumes.”
So, while Google isn’t alone – with Facebook, Amazon, Uber, and Whatsapp also in the fray – it might beat them to be the first to launch a UPI-based payment system. In March this year, Sweden-based Truecaller, which counts India as its largest market, also introduced a new UPI-based mobile payment service ‘Truecaller Pay’ through a tie-in with ICICI Bank.
Google announced the launch of Android Pay globally in March 2015. Android Pay is a mobile wallet that can store credit cards, debit cards, and loyalty cards etc. Basically, it allows users to make contactless payments using their smartphone at selected retailers. The digital payment is service is similar to Samsung Pay and Apple Pay.
As per Hota, Google is developing a separate India-focussed app, which it will name differently, in integration with a bank. It is expected that Google will launch a UPI-enabled app within the next two-three months for mobile payments. If this happens, it could be a big boost to given that Android is the dominant operating system in India.