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Google 'Tez' payment app that uses ultrasonic sound

  • Google has launched Tez, a new secure payment app, in India to replace cash
  • It allows users to transfer money using a mic, speaker, and ultrasonic sounds
  • The country relies on cash, and firm sees this as an opportunity for businesses

By Sage Lazzaro For Dailymail.com

Published: 15:35 EDT, 18 September 2017 | Updated: 15:49 EDT, 18 September 2017

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Google has unveiled a new payment app that uses sound to transfer money, though it can't be heard by the human ear.

The new system - called Tez - uses a feature called 'Audio QR' that allows two users to pair their devices for a money transfer using a mic, speaker, and ultrasonic sounds.

It's named for the Hindi word for 'fast' and launches today in India.

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Google has unveiled a new payment app that uses sound to transfer money, though it can't be heard by the human ear. The new system - called Tez - allows two users to pair their devices for a money transfer using a mic, speaker, and ultrasonic sounds
Google has unveiled a new payment app that uses sound to transfer money, though it can't be heard by the human ear. The new system - called Tez - allows two users to pair their devices for a money transfer using a mic, speaker, and ultrasonic sounds

Google has unveiled a new payment app that uses sound to transfer money, though it can't be heard by the human ear. The new system - called Tez - allows two users to pair their devices for a money transfer using a mic, speaker, and ultrasonic sounds

HOW IT WORKS 

To make a payment with Tez Audio QR, two users can bring their phones near each other, hit pay or request, and enter their UPI PINs.

Using ultrasonic sound, the app identifies the sender and recipient, and the payment instantly transfers from one bank account to another.

To do this, it uses a proprietary technology that can be described as a more convenient, more secure QR code that allows for payment without the exchange of sensitive personal information.

Unlike other contactless payment systems, it works on almost any smartphone in India across both Android or iOS. 

Google sees the app and its business potential as a big opportunity.

'To make digital payments truly work for India, we need a product that can compete with cash,' a blog post announcing the new app reads.

'It needs to be simple, affordable, and work everywhere and for everyone.'

'So today we are introducing a new mobile app from Google, Tez - a simple and secure way to pay for things, big and small, online and offline, in India.'

To make a payment with Audio QR, two users can bring their phones near each other, hit pay or request, and enter their UPI (Unified Payments Interface) PINs. 

Using ultrasonic sound, the app identifies the sender and recipient, and the payment instantly transfers from one bank account to another.

This is what Tez calls Cash Mode, which enables users to pay others without exchanging sensitive personal information.

To do this, it uses a proprietary technology that can be described as a more convenient, more secure QR code.

For further security, the app also features Tez Shield, which uses multiple signals to help detect spam, fraud, prevent hacking, and to verify and protect the identity of every user.

You can also safeguard your account with a passcode, fingerprint, or Google PIN code. 

Unlike other contactless payment systems, it works on almost any smartphone in India across both Android or iOS.

Tez - which works with all of the 55 banks on UPI - will also uses your phone's contact list and allows you to easily send payments to people not immediately around you.

Transaction history with each person you send money to is conveniently grouped together in a thread just like text message.

For Tez, Google paired with the National Payments Corporation of India and the country's top four banks: Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank today and soon with the State Bank of India.

To make a payment with Audio QR, two users can bring their phones near each other, hit pay or request, and enter their UPI PINs. Using ultrasonic sound, the app identifies the sender and recipient, and the payment instantly transfers from one bank account to another
To make a payment with Audio QR, two users can bring their phones near each other, hit pay or request, and enter their UPI PINs. Using ultrasonic sound, the app identifies the sender and recipient, and the payment instantly transfers from one bank account to another

To make a payment with Audio QR, two users can bring their phones near each other, hit pay or request, and enter their UPI PINs. Using ultrasonic sound, the app identifies the sender and recipient, and the payment instantly transfers from one bank account to another

The partnerships allow users with these banks to use Tez to transact online or with other UPI apps.

For further security, the app also features Tez Shield, which uses multiple signals to help detect spam, fraud, prevent hacking, and to verify and protect the identity of every user. You can also safeguard your account with a passcode, fingerprint, or Google PIN code
For further security, the app also features Tez Shield, which uses multiple signals to help detect spam, fraud, prevent hacking, and to verify and protect the identity of every user. You can also safeguard your account with a passcode, fingerprint, or Google PIN code

For further security, the app also features Tez Shield, which uses multiple signals to help detect spam, fraud, prevent hacking, and to verify and protect the identity of every user. You can also safeguard your account with a passcode, fingerprint, or Google PIN code

One of the biggest opportunities for Tez is for local businesses. 

'Small businesses can also use Tez to accept payments directly into their savings or individual current accounts,' Google said.

The firm is also launching a Tez for Business program, which will allow companies to collect payment for goods and services via secure UPI payments on their mobile sites. 

Merchants will also be able to customize their own Business Channels in the Tez app so users can easily interact.

On the channels, businesses can send tailored offers, send reminders for reoccurring payments, and more.

PVR Cinemas, redBus, DishTv, Jet Airways, Domino's, Shopifym Billdesk, Payu, and more are already on Tez or will be in the coming weeks. 

Recently, WhatsApp released new tools for businesses as well as a standalone app, WhatsApp for Business.  

Tez - which works with all of the 55 banks on UPI - also uses your phone's contact list and allows you to easily send payments to people not immediately around you. Transaction history with each person is conveniently grouped together in a thread just like text message
Tez - which works with all of the 55 banks on UPI - also uses your phone's contact list and allows you to easily send payments to people not immediately around you. Transaction history with each person is conveniently grouped together in a thread just like text message

Tez - which works with all of the 55 banks on UPI - also uses your phone's contact list and allows you to easily send payments to people not immediately around you. Transaction history with each person is conveniently grouped together in a thread just like text message

Google attributed the new app to growing smartphone usage in the country and limited mobile payment options.

'With over 300 million smartphone users in India and rapidly improving connectivity, the internet is becoming a daily part of life for many Indians,' Google said.

'That includes messaging friends and family, searching the web for information, reading news, watching music videos, or playing games.'

'But when it comes to paying for things in the real world - vegetables, bus fares, the chaiwallah, splitting the bill at dinner or paying on delivery for something purchased online — those smartphones often go unused.'

'Out instead comes… wads of paper. Indians love cash.'

Digital payments have surged in the country since the ban of high-value bank notes in November, which brought more than 85 percent of the country’s currency out of circulation.

It's estimated the digital payment industry in India will grow from $50 billion in 2016 to $500 billion by 2020, according to a recent report on FinTech trends in the country.

Digital payments have surged in the country since the ban of high-value bank notes in November. It's estimated the digital payment industry in India will grow from $50 billion in 2016 to $500 billion by 2020, according to a recent report on FinTech trends in the country
Digital payments have surged in the country since the ban of high-value bank notes in November. It's estimated the digital payment industry in India will grow from $50 billion in 2016 to $500 billion by 2020, according to a recent report on FinTech trends in the country

Digital payments have surged in the country since the ban of high-value bank notes in November. It's estimated the digital payment industry in India will grow from $50 billion in 2016 to $500 billion by 2020, according to a recent report on FinTech trends in the country

Overall, India is a main focus for Google as it continues to dominate the maps, search engine, and Android operating system in the country as internet usership grows - it's estimated the country will grow from 400 million users now to 650 million in 2020.

Tez supports English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu, with more languages coming soon. 

In the coming weeks, Tez will add credit cards and wallets as payment methods as well as compatibility with more phones, including with Lava, Micromax, Nokia Mobile, and Panasonic.

With the app, Google is trying to push people from cash payments.

'Cash is easy to lose, difficult to carry around and can be easily stolen,' the company said.

'More critically, cash makes it hard for people to build a financial track record, and could result in exclusion from services like credit and insurance.'

Other companies are turning to ultrasonic audio to transmit information as well, such as Lisnr and Chirp.

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