Google Pay introduces “digital gold" on its platform and also wealth management products like mutual funds.
Google Pay partnered with point-of-sale companies Pine Labs and Innoviti Payment Solutions Pvt. Ltd to strengthen its offline presence. Through this, Google Pay aims to establish a network of 200,000 stores across 3,500 towns and cities in India over the next few months. The rollout will begin with grocery chains Reliance Fresh and Vishal Mega Mart.
“We will be in the offline space in a big way," said Ambarish Kenghe, director of product management, Google Pay India. “For now, a majority of them are large-format retail stores, but we will also look at neighbourhood kirana stores." Since its launch in August 2017, Google Pay slowly picked up pace in India to compete with market leaders Paytm and PhonePe. Google Pay claims to have 45 million monthly active users currently, up three times from 14 million as of March 2018. The company also claims to have an annualized run rate of $81 billion, based on the transaction value over the last few weeks.
Google Pay started out with peer-to-peer transfers and bill payments. It claims that over 2,000 online merchants, including the likes of Swiggy and BookMyShow, uses its services. But as the battle of digital payments has slowly been moving to the physical retail space, the company has sharpened its focus on expanding its offline merchant base. Amazon Pay is also entering the offline payments space through the launch of its scan-and-pay QR codes in retail chain Shoppers Stop and grocery chain More.
Google Pay started out with peer-to-peer transfers and bill payments and had 25 million users in India as of September 2018 and they entered the digital gold market two years later in India. In August 2018, Paytm said it is going to cross 1.5 tons in gold transactions through its platform with a 70 per cent share of MMTC-PAMP’s virtual gold offerings in the country. MMTC-PAMP is a joint venture between MMTC Ltd, a Government of India undertaking, and PAMP SA, Switzerland, a global leader in refining bullion and a global referee for precious metals. MMTC-PAMP is a gold and silver refinery accredited by the London Bullion Market Association’s (LBMA) Good Delivery standards.
Paytm, which was the first player to install a QR code at an offline store, claimed in November that over 6 million of its 9.5 million offline merchant base accept Paytm UPI and that they form 80% of all offline merchant transactions conducted on Unified Payments Interface (UPI). PhonePe claims to have its merchant acceptance network across 100 cities with plans to increase this number to 500 by the end of 2019.
Google is adding more services to its payments app, Google Pay, in India as it tries to attract its next billion users. The US search giant on Wednesday introduced an option to purchase “digital gold" on its platform. It is also looking at launching other wealth management products, including mutual funds, said two people familiar with the matter, requesting anonymity.
Google’s biggest focus this year is to further establish its payments platform Google Pay. The company is adding more use cases to the platform and is tinkering with the idea of adding mutual funds, insurance, etc.
Paytm was one of the first companies to launch “digital gold", which was followed by PhonePe and a few others.
The digital payments wing of Google has already updated its terms of services to say ‘GAP shall mean the Gold Accumulation Plan provided by MMTC’ and ‘Gold Account means such account on Google Pay which has been linked to the GAP.’