India’s big push to go digital and embrace epayment solutions could soon have the backing of a major player: Google.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said today the company is thinking and working hard to bring some of its services that will work on top of the Unified Payments Interface. The UPI is India’s audacious project to make person-to-person and e-commerce transactions swifter and easier.
Speaking about UPI, Pichai said, “I think it’s a bold and courageous move and it is a platform shift for the underlying economy to try and digitize how cash moves around and we are excited by it,” he said in an interview with NDTV, adding that such major moves often take time to play out.
“We are trying to understand what UPI is and the power of the stack that’s being built here, I think it’s truly unique to India,” he added. “At the scale at which it can work I think is a unique opportunity. We’re excited and thinking hard about how to adopt to it.”
“Maybe we will bring services from Google that will work on top of UPI which will make things work better for users in India,” he added. “We’re thinking about it hard…anything that we could do to make payment solutions easier for users in India…maybe we will bring some services to make digital payment easier for Indian users,” Pichai said, without sharing more information.
In an interview with the Economic Times, Pichai mentioned that Google could add support for UPI on Android.
Pichai’s comment months after it was reported that the Indian government has held talks with Google, Apple, and Microsoft to bring Aadhaar-enabled authentication system to their respective mobile operating systems. At the time, however, the companies had shown resistance in the proposal.
The penetration of bank accounts, and by extension, debit cards and credit cards remain low in India. With UPI, the government is trying to bring banking and financial services to its entire population. For this, it’s using another audacious program called Aadhaar, with which it is making it easier for a lot of Indians to have one set of information work across a plethora of services.
About 400 million of the 1.12 billion bank accounts are linked to Aadhaar cards reports suggest. More than one billion people in India have enrolled themselves to Aadhaar already.
India-born Pichai has been cheerleading a range of services for the Indian market. Yesterday, at a media event, he announced Digital Unlocked initiative to bring every mom and pop stores and businesses on the web.