Google is presently in the process of rolling out chatting support for its Android payments app Tez in India, local media reports. While the feature isn't meant to fully transform the service into a mobile messenger, industry watchers are describing the move as being aimed directly at Facebook's WhatsApp that's recently been moving into Tez's territory. With the most popular messaging app in the country recently debuting support for mobile payments, Google's financial service is now adopting new communications functionalities and presumably targeting a similar user experience.
Much like WhatsApp's service, Tez is based on the Unified Payments Interface service, a real-time financial platform created by National Payments Corporation of India in mid-2016 with the goal of accelerating and securing transactions between different banks in the country. A Google spokesperson confirmed Tez is now "slowly" receiving support for sending payments but hasn't disclosed whether the rollout is part of a limited testing phase of development or is soon meant to encompass all of the app's users in India. Tez presently has around 13.5 million active users in the country, whereas Whatsapp boasted 200 million of them a year ago but hasn't provided an updated statistic since then. Tez's move mimics that of India's most popular mobile payments service Paytm which embraced messaging as one of its extra features last November.
India is one of the world's fastest-growing markets for cashless transactions, having started embracing such technologies in late 2016 after New Delhi unexpectedly ordered a demonetization of some popular banknotes. Samsung Pay is also being marketed in an aggressive manner in the country, as are a number of smaller platforms. India is also presently maintaining the value of the global smartphone market, being the last major bastion of growth for many original equipment manufacturers, according to numerous industry trackers. Google's Tez officially launched last September and isn't expected to expand its availability outside of the South Asian country in the near future.