Google has begun distributing white-labeled sound boxes in fewer regions of North India including New Delhi
It has given sound boxes to selected merchants for a limited time frame at no additional charges (for using them)
Its sound boxes, which are designed by ToneTag, have a QR code in the front that is linked to merchants’ registered phone number
Tech colossal Google is reportedly piloting a sound box ‘Soundpod by Google Pay’ in the Indian market. The move is similar to other digital payment apps Paytm and PhonePe, which are offering sound boxes to their merchants currently.
Essentially, a sound box is a portable speaker that enables UPI users to scan merchants’ QR code and make UPI payments. Once the payment is done, the sound box notifies merchants about successful payment by vocally alerting him.
According to TechCrunch’s sources, Google has begun distributing white-labeled sound boxes in fewer regions of North India including New Delhi. It has given sound boxes to selected merchants for a limited time frame at no additional charges (for using them).
Google’s representatives have asked selected merchants to set up these at their stores. Its sound boxes, which are designed by ToneTag, have a QR code in the front that is linked to merchants’ registered phone numbers. “We are experimenting with several different solutions to make digital payments more convenient and intuitive for users and merchants,” Google’s spokesperson told IANS.
It is prudent to note that digital payment apps traditionally do not levy charges on UPI transactions thus, sound boxes have come up as a monetising tool for them.
The development has come at a time when UPI has gained momentum in the online payment ecosystem. In the calendar year 2022, the total number of UPI transactions soared by 1.75X year-on-year (YoY) standing at INR 125.95 Lakh Cr, according to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) data.
The NPCI data further reported that UPI’s total transaction value accounted for about 86% of the country’s GDP in the financial year 2022.
Recently, the Union Cabinet approved an INR 2,600 Cr scheme to promote RuPay debit cards and low-value UPI transactions. The scheme will help build a robust digital payment ecosystem, adding new products such as UPI Lite and UPI 123PAY.
Prior to that, fintech unicorn CRED, which introduced UPI payment services in October 2022, was asked by NPCI to stop using Paytm’s merchant QR codes in its standees at offline stores.
The issue came to light after CRED began using Paytm’s QR codes on its standees saying, “This QR is partial to CRED members.”