Published On: Wed, Mar 7th, 2018

Google takes on WhatsApp in India with chat option for Tez payments app

Google is adding a chat feature to the Tez person-to-person payments app it launched in India last year. As the Economic Times reports, the feature is rolling out now and lets users send messages related to each transaction. It should be helpful for tracking the context of payments and so on.

So yes, it’s yet another messaging solution from Google. But this time around it’s easy to see why it’s necessary. WhatsApp has just launched its own in-app payments system for India, which has the potential to be a huge deal — the messaging service has over 200 million Indian users, representing the majority of smartphone owners in the country. Paytm, India’s largest mobile payments company, also has more than 200 million users, and added a similar chat option late last year.

Both Google and WhatsApp have built their services atop the Indian government’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system for transferring money by tapping into bank accounts directly rather than maintaining a virtual wallet. However, it’s clear that they’re going about the design from opposite directions — one company is adding payments to a chat app, and now the other is adding chat to a payments app.

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