Updated February 23rd, 2024 at 08:11 IST

Fishing in troubled waters? Google Pay expands SoundPods amid Paytm fiasco

SoundPods function similarly to Paytm's soundbox, providing merchants with audio alerts upon receiving QR code payments.

Reported by: Business Desk
Google Pay Soundpod expansion | Image:Republic
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Google Pay SoundPod expansion: Google has unveiled plans for the widespread implementation of its SoundPod service for merchants throughout India in light of the ongoing crisis surrounding Paytm Payments Bank.

Google Pay (GPay) announced on Thursday its initiative to expand the availability of SoundPods, an audio notification system designed for merchants, across India over the next several months.

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Initially launched on a limited pilot basis last year, SoundPods function similarly to Paytm's soundbox, providing merchants with audio alerts upon receiving QR code payments, thereby streamlining checkout processes.

Ambarish Lenge, Vice President for Product at Google Pay, stated in a blog post, "Last year, we introduced our SoundPod product in a limited pilot... We're pleased to announce SoundPods will be available for small merchants across India over the coming months."

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This development coincides with the Reserve Bank of India's directive to Paytm Payments Bank Limited (PPBL) to cease accepting funds after March 15 for transactions.

According to RBI's FAQs, Paytm QR codes, Soundbox, or POS terminals will remain operational post-March 15 only if linked to banks other than PPBL.

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In the December 2023 quarter, Paytm reported a surge in merchant subscriptions for devices, reaching 1.06 crore, marking a year-over-year increase of 49 lakh.

While Paytm addresses transactional issues for merchants, including adjustments to virtual payment address settings, Google Pay is forging ahead with its plans to expand Soundbox services nationwide.

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"This is in addition to the slate of consumer and merchant offerings we announced in October 2023 to expand the availability of responsible credit in India—a mission that we're well on our way towards with encouraging momentum," said Kenghe, referring to Google Pay's commitment to enhancing financial inclusivity.

Highlighting the transformative impact of UPI's seamless interoperability, Kenghe emphasised its potential not only for India but also globally.

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GPay currently ranks as the second-largest UPI app in India, trailing only behind PhonePe. In January 2024, it facilitated 444.28 crore transactions valued at Rs 6,35,945.58 crore, outpacing PPBL in both transaction volume and value.

(With PTI inputs.)

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Published February 23rd, 2024 at 08:11 IST