After Paytm, Now We Have Tez

Everyone seems to be capitalising on the after effect of the gaffe made by the Indian government last year. If it isn’t clear, the gaffe in question is demonetisation, where the Indian government banned the 1000 and 500 rupee notes, forcing a large chunk of the country’s population to steer away towards digital payments. As a result of this preference for digitised payments, Paytm, the most popular online payments app soared to new heights of popularity and recorded massive profits which allowed its owner to buy an expensive house, while the rest of the profits went to Alibaba, the Chinese company that owns the larger part of Paytm.

Looking to enter this profitable playing field and make a cut of the massive profits themselves, Google has launched their own payment app in India, named Tez (Hindi for fast). Tez, a United Payments Interface (UPI)-based digital app, goes a step beyond Android Pay, by allowing users to link payment apps from Indian banks. Tez also allows bank-to-bank payments and is comfortably protected by Tez Shield, Google’s own data security platform with the ability to detect fraud and protect user identity. Conveniently, Tez has a contact list that will give transaction history organised, somewhat like a chat app. According to Google, the app also allows small businesses to accept payments directly into their bank accounts.

“Send money home to your family, split a dinner bill with friends, or pay the neighbourhood chaiwala. Make all payments big or small, directly from your bank account with Tez, Google’s new digital payment app for India,” is Google’s official statement regarding their newest venture on its information portal.

But what makes Tez special, particularly in India, is that it uses Audio QR. This basically means that the app does not use user payment information but instead transfers money based on sounds. Twi devices can pair using these ultrasonic sounds, eliminating the need for payee and payer personal information. This will also make the process more rapid and frictionless and also bypasses the need for an NFC chip, since phones with NFC are still relatively rare and expensive.

The app will be available on both Android and iOS and Google is planning to release it in other emerging countries.

Sources: The Verge, TechCrunch 

Govt planning 2% incentive on digital payments

The digital payments may soon become less expensive as the government is mulling over a 2% incentive on the same. In a move to encourage digital transactions and discourage cash payments, the government plans for a 2% relief on the applicable GST tax rate in digital payments that are billed up to Rs 2,000.

According to The Economic Times, the proposal which can be seen as a benefit either as a discount or cash back, is currently being discussed in the Finance Ministry, cabinet secretariat, RBI and Ministry of Electronics and IT.

The IT ministry has been leading the government’s efforts to encourage digital payments and has been considering initiatives that may popularise electronic payments further. PM Modi addressing the nation on 71st Independence Day, asked people to use less cash and Modi has been in favour to boost digital payments which has prompted various government departments to facilitate their acceptance.

As per TOI reports, a recent high level meeting took place which analysed digital payments post demonetization and was attended by IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and senior officers from other government ministries including the finance ministry and the cabinet secretary’s office.

A TOI source also stated, “Transactions of up to Rs 2,000 are very high in volumes and if an incentive can be given here, it will provide an impetus to digital payments while facilitating the entry of more people within the formal economy. This will help plug leakages while playing a credible part in countering the development of black money.”

But as of now the route which the government may suggest for providing the 2% incentive is unclear.



Government Transaction in Tripura to go Digital

According to a top official from January 1, all government transactions and payments in Tripura will happen online. Chief Secretary Yashpal Singh stated to the reporters “The government has taken initiatives to make all government transactions and payments through online system”. He added that the foremost step of the whole process will be opening bank accounts for the people who don’t already have bank accounts. In Tripura, at least 80 percent of the population already has a bank account.

The Chief Secretary Yashpal Singh said Union Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha had urged him to introduce the online payment system immediately.

Initiatives have been taken by the state government to open new bank accounts for the brick kiln and tea garden workers. More than 15,000 workers are employed by the 58 tea gardens present in Tripura.

The Tripura official also mentioned to the reporters that the government long back started paying the government employees their salaries by sending it directly to their bank accounts.  Considering those people especially who are working in the unorganized sector, the State Bank of India has started mobile camps in various parts of Tripura to help them in opening their bank accounts.

SOURCES : NDTV, The Statesman

Image Source : NewsX

Government Announces Measures to Push for Digital Payments

On December 8, a month after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes was announced, the Finance Ministry has come out with a number of measures that are intended to promote digital payments. This is the latest effort by the government to move towards a cashless economy.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a total of eleven measures in a statement that was released today. According to The Times of India, the minister said that people using credit or debit cards, e-wallets and mobile wallets on purchases of petrol or diesel would be able to avail of a 0.75 per cent discount. Further, there will be a 0.5 per cent discount for those buying monthly seasonal tickets in suburban railway networks using digital modes.

This measure will come into effect on January 1, 2017, reported The Indian Express. Along similar lines, those buying railway tickets digitally will receive insurance cover worth Rs 10 lakh; there will be also be five per cent discount on digital payments for railway facilities like catering and retiring rooms.

According to Livemint, service tax on payments worth less than Rs 2000 will be waived off. The government departments will also be bearing the cost of all the discounts announced on transaction fees and merchant discount rates (MDR) charges. Jaitley also announced more measures to enable and ease digital transactions within rural areas.

Livemint reported that the Finance Minister has also said that there had been a visible switch to digital modes of payments since the government’s decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.


Sources: Times of India, The Indian Express, Live Mint