Google Pay Introduces SoundPod For Small Merchants In India


Google has announced its plan to introduce the SoundPod, a portable speaker designed to instantly validate and announce successful payments, to small merchants across India in the coming months. This expansion of Google Pay in India, where the company is a leader in the mobile payment market, comes as the firm is winding down some of its payments apps in the U.S.

Key Takeaway

Google Pay is expanding its reach in India by introducing the SoundPod, a portable speaker designed to validate and announce payments, to small merchants. The device aims to streamline the payment process for small businesses and provide valuable insights into merchant behaviors.

Positive Feedback from Trial

The limited trial of SoundPod last year received positive feedback, according to Ambarish Kenghe, VP of Products for Google Pay. The testing showed that the device helped merchants reduce checkout time, as mentioned in a blog post by Kenghe.

Wide Adoption and Market Competition

The miniature jukeboxes, known as “sound-boxes” in India, have been widely adopted by merchants, providing them with a quick and reliable way to confirm payments and address any potential disputes. Paytm, a leading financial services firm, currently dominates the sound-box market, while PhonePe is also expanding its device. It’s estimated that over 20 million merchants in India are already using these devices, which cost approximately $18-$20 to produce.

Impact on Small Merchants

The sound-box was specifically designed to cater to small Indian merchants who may not be able to afford traditional point-of-sale devices. Its popularity has surpassed that of Visa, Mastercard, and Amex combined, prompting payment giants to explore ways to leverage its widespread use. Additionally, the sound box has evolved into a lucrative subscription model, with various players imposing subscription charges on merchants. Beyond its auditory alerts, the device provides valuable insights into merchant behaviors, enabling the offering of loans based on this data.

Cost and Incentives

Google Pay is offering the SoundPod at a minimal cost, with a one-time fee of $18 for one year or a one-time fee of $6 and six cents per day for 25 days in a month. Merchants who use SoundPod to process 400 payments in a month will receive $1.5 in cashback, providing an additional incentive for adoption.

Long-Term Commitment

Ambarish Kenghe of Google expressed deep pride in playing a role in India’s digital payments story, emphasizing the company’s long-term investment in the country’s digital transformation. The move by Google comes as Reliance, India’s largest firm by market cap, also plans to launch a similar device following successful testing at its campus last year.

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