Google plans to launch Android Pay, its digital wallet,
in India later this year. The search giant is preparing to anchor the platform
to government-backed Unified Payments Interface, a step already being adopted
by other global companies such as Stripe and WhatsApp.
There have recently been new pieces of information
regarding this from multiple sources. One source said that Google has already
started testing UPI on its Android Pay platform while a second one who’s
tracking smartphone brands stated that Google was analyzing the launch of
Android Pay in India through UPI. One and the same thing.
Android Pay was launched in 2015, first in the U.S and
since then, has introduced the service in many countries including UK, Russia,
Australia, Singapore and Japan. In all of these countries, the digital wallet
has successfully partnered with several banks to enable users to make quick and
easy in-app as well as contact-less transactions through the app.
According to a third source, Stripe was in advanced
negotiations to enter India through a partnership with UPI. Stripe is a San
Francisco-based startup that enables several businesses across a 100 countries
to accept any kind of digital payment with ease.
In April, AP Hota, the managing director of National
Payments Corporation of India (NCPI) — the developer of UPI — had revealed that
wildly popular messaging service WhatsApp has shown interest in using UPI to
launch its new payments platform in the country.
Further, Dilip Asbe, who is the chief operating officer
at NPCI has told Economic Times that the agency has been approached by three
global companies wanting to work with UPI in the past few months. However, he
could not reveal the names because of non-disclosure agreements.
He said, “They see UPI as a simple, seamless payment
option with a mobile focus, which is what these companies are interested in. If
these global players put their weight behind UPI, it will definitely give a big
push to UPI to reach 50 million to 100 million users in the next few years. We
are expecting that these companies will roll out their UPI products this year.”
There has been no comment on this matter from Google or
Stripe. The only thing a Google spokesperson said was, “We are always looking
for ways to make it easy for people to pay with their mobile devices, such as
Android Pay in some countries, and looking to expand those capabilities to the
next billion users.”
Google recently announced a payment Application Program
Interface (API) which will allow all Android phones to make digital payments.
This is in tandem with catering to the needs of the Indian market, which is
still aiming to be fully cashless.
UPI, which is backed by the Indian government uses bank
accounts to enable feast and easy transactions. It was propelled forward
recently with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to urge people to make
cashless payments. According to data from NCPI, there were about 6.9 million
transactions that were carried out through UPI in April alone.
Android Pay’s entry into the Indian market will follow
the likes of several other companies including Truecaller– which launched a
UPI- based mobile payment solution using ICICI Bank, Samsung Pay, which went
live with UPI last month, and Indian messaging startup Hike Messenger — set to
launch payments soon through UPI.