Google is planning to launch Android Pay in India by year-end

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Google is getting ready to introduce Android Pay, its digital wallet, in India this year, providing the platform to the government-backed Unified Payments Interface (UPI) as are other global companies including Stripe and WhatsApp.

Google has already started testing UPI on its Android Pay platform, according to a person aware of the developments. Another person who is tracking the smartphone brands said Google was evaluating an entry for Android Pay in India through UPI.

Stripe — the San Francisco-based startup that businesses in more than 100 countries with the solution of handling all types of digital payments was in advanced talks to launch in India in partnership with UPI, as per a person familiar with the matter. Last month, the managing director of NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) that developed UPI, AP Hota, said WhatsApp had also shown interest in UPI for its new payments platform launch. However, Google and Stripe did not explicitly comment on their entry into India’s payments market.

Dilip Asbe, CEO at NPCI,said that in recent months three global companies have already approached the company expressing their wish to work with UPI. He declined to identify the companies due to signed NDAs (non-disclosure agreements).

Google has launched Android Pay platform in the US in 2015 and since then, expanded it in several countries, such as UK, Russia, Singapore, Australia and Japan. It has partnered with multiple banks also in these regions to enable easy and fast in-app and contactless transactions via Android Pay.

UPI links bank accounts to facilitate quick transactions and got a big push recently with the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi administration’s drive towards cashless payments. According to NPCI data, in April, around 6.9 million transactions were carried out through UPI.

This is the right timing for global digital payments companies to enter the Indian market through UPI as there are no well-known winners in that world yet, said Sanjay Swamy, partner at Prime Venture Partners and an investor in financial technology startups including Hapay and KredX.

“UPI is truly well-suited for peer-to-peer and other on-phone payments experiences. This makes it a fit for WhatsApp and for purchase fit for WhatsApp and for purchasing apps or payments in-app for the Google Play store,” said Swamy.

“As far as Stripe is concerned, it’s really a payment gateway. As they do not directly have a large consumer base, their motivations are more to enable UPI for their overseas clients targeting Indian consumers and for Indian companies as a part of a broader payments acceptance offering.”

Recently, other platforms like Truecaller in partnership with ICICI Bank and Samsung Pay launched a UPI-based mobile payment solution.. Also, Indian messaging startup Hike Messenger was set to launch payments through UPI. While internet giant has started testing UPI on Android Pay, Stripe is also looking to launch here soon.

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Himani Sharma, From ITvoir News Desk

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