Google has unveiled Tez, a new payment app for users in India that can transfer money between two people without requiring any special hardware.
While many mobile payment apps use NFC chips, Tez uses ultrasonic audio to pair two devices together and transfer money, according to a news report from 9to5Google. Inaudible to the human ear, ultrasonic audio works on just about every device, including both Android and iOS. The audio can quickly connect the two devices with no need to share banking details, email addresses or even phone numbers.
Tez connects directly to a user’s bank account and works with the United Payments Interface, which means it will integrate with any bank in the region that supports UPI.
In addition to sending money, there’s Tez Shield, an always-active security feature designed to prevent fraud or hacking, as well as Tez Scratch Cards, which offer all Tez users the chance to win up to ₹1,000 per week, or ₹100,000 on “lucky Sundays.”
Currently, Tez is only available in India, but recent trademarks suggest Google is planning a wider launch to other Asian countries in the future. The app can already support languages including English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.
Earlier this year, it was noted that Google was among the first international companies to bring a UPI-based mobile wallet platform to market. “We are always looking for ways to make it easy for people to pay with their mobile devices – for instance, Android Pay in some countries – and continually evaluating ways to expand those capabilities to the next billion users," said a spokeswoman.
One factor in the growth of mobile wallet adoption has been the demonetization that marked the end of 2016, when the Indian government removed roughly 86 percent of the country’s currency from circulation.