Google integrates its digital payment app Tez with State Bank of India

Google on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership with State Bank of India (SBI), by deeper integration of its payment app Tez to focus on SBI huge customer base.

Google said it has been looking to build a mutual platform by partnering with banks in India to enable payments to anyone using its Tez app.

The app built on the Indian government-supported Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and SBI's integration, allows Tez users to create a SBI UPI identity - @oksbi to make payments.

"The purpose of this partnership is to collaborate on various digital initiatives such as SBI going live on Tez," said P K Gupta, managing director (Retail & Digital Banking), SBI.

"This strategic partnership goes beyond UPI. It will see us working together to drive innovation for India's whole digital payment system, and across different products and services," said Diana Layfield, vice-president, head of finance and commerce products on Googles Next Billion Users.

SBI claims to have a 30-per cent market share in the payments space, with two-million daily UPI transactions valued at Rs234 crore, and a customer base of over 400 million. Since its launch, Tez has processed over 250 million transactions and has registered over 13.5 million monthly active users across India.

"A payments system should have three features - simplicity, security, and trust. While Tez is known for its simplicity and security, SBI is all about trust," said Rajnish Kumar, chairman, SBI.

Google said Tez's long-term aspiration is to build a mutual platform by partnering with banks in India to enable payments to anyone, anywhere and with every form of payment.

The payments app has partnered with four banks, namely, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and SBI. Both Google and Tez also plan to expand their merchant users with a focus on smaller merchants outside metro cities. Tez said that it has 5.25 lakh merchant users, despite not targeting merchants and a reach of more than two lakh towns, villages and cities across India.

Google said that SBI's ability to reach to the underbanked sectors will also help change digital behaviour in these regions. "We want to work with SBI to help offline merchants go digital. With two-thirds of our users beyond the major cities, we think that there's real potential to digitize the smaller merchants across India who so far have been slightly slower in going digital.

"We will work with SBI to provide additional services to these businesses, help them reduce their cost and take payments digitally," said Layfield. Merchant penetration in the country is still very low, given the size of the country. Onboarding offline merchants and providing them with good and services is a huge business opportunity but we need to move away as much as possible from Point of Sale (POS) machines and find new ways to onboard customers" said Kumar adding that the mobile phone could work as POS machine.

SBI had previously introduced other payments apps including its own UPI app, digital wallet and recently launched a lifestyle and financial services app. The bank said that customers have to be offered a lot of choices.

The bank is choosing to focus on UPI and will not be spending any more money on its wallet State Bank Buddy. Google on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership with State Bank of India (SBI), to focus on deeper integration for SBI customers on its digital payments app Tez. The app built on the Indian government-supported Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and SBI's integration, allows Tez users to create a SBI UPI identity - @oksbi to make payments.

"The purpose of this partnership is to collaborate on various digital initiatives such as SBI going live on Tez," said P K Gupta, managing director (Retail & Digital Banking), SBI. "This strategic partnership goes beyond UPI. It will see us working together to drive innovation for India's whole digital payment system, and across different products and services," said Diana Layfield, vice-president, head of finance and commerce products on Googles Next Billion Users.