Google Pay [India]

The year 2017, people in India began manging their day-to-day payments digitally using e-wallets like Paytm, MobiKwik, and Freecharge.

I was living in a bubble. I was amazed by the fast-track technology inclusion in India and psyched about a lot of new apps and services. But when it came to money/payments, I preferred cash transactions or net-banking. Something in my mind pulled me back from signing up in these Apps. I do remember that I tried installing most of these Apps, but didn’t find myself sticking around due to their not-so-good user experience.

My friends used to make fun of me. Everyone around me started using Paytm. After a while, I started using Paytm without using their Mobile App. I connected my Paytm account to the Uber account and added money to the Paytm wallet inside the Uber App. I enjoyed using the Uber App because of their user experience. It was the time when I didn’t have a credit card. When I got a credit card, I completely forgot about Paytm, e-wallets altogether.

The Year 2019, month August. I realized that a lot of people were going crazy about Google Pay. Ok, since there are a lot of good reviews and hype about the rewards, I convinced myself and gave it a try.

I installed the app once and never uninstalled it.

google-pay-home

For a middle-class consumer, there is something special about Google Pay, something unique that keeps the user, lets come back to the app. Who wouldn’t miss a chance to win up to 1 lakh reward seamlessly?.

I realized that it’s time for me to move on and start using a fintech App to replace my cash transactions. I was hanging out with friends, and they got to know that I have installed Google Pay, my friends started sending me money requests. It felt great to decline all my friend’s payment requests and see all declined transactions on a chat screen — psych level: 90%.

Even though I have been using IMPS via net-banking and was happy about it, the peer-to-peer pull functionality of UPI got me. I can pay or request money from anyone. And seeing all these requests/payments in one single screen made my financial life pretty much more manageable.

From that day till now, I might have done more than 300 UPI transactions, all through Google Pay.

The year 2019, now. Some of my product thoughts on Google Pay App.

Not-priming

If you look at the home screen of the app [ scroll to the top ], you can understand that the background graphic is not priming enough. Even though it looks neat and simple, the graphic stays there and adds no value to the whole user experience. But if the app could bring in a graphic of friends/family sending payments with the same color patterns, it might influence the user to send a payment.

End-user empowerment

Whenever I open Google Pay, the app asks me to enter the phone’s passcode or request me to authenticate using Biometric options [ Fingerprint/Face Detection], which makes me feel that I have superior control over the app.

Unlike PhonePe [ A Google Pay competitor ], Google Pay assures that the app’s and user’s valuable information is in a secured place. With this, I am pretty sure that no-else can access my Google Pay profile and see previous transactions to my close friends or merchants. But in PhonePe, anyone who has access to the app can recognize the History of the payments.

Usage-based personalization

95% of my previous ~300+ Google Pay payments were for me to order food via Swiggy, with clear booking patterns (e.g., a specific merchant).

Even though Google Pay app shows merchants under label frequent and smart suggestions, it doesn’t seem to work at all.

Google Pay could save users precious time by using past search data patterns to suggest default merchants. [ This is fixed by Google Pay App on versions > 48.0.001_RC03 ]. Previously I had to do top-to-bottom eye-search for Swiggy in the merchant list; now Swiggy is the first merchant in the list. Good job, Google Pay, finally, Woohoo!

Context-aware service

Google Pay App has access to my current location. Currently, in the app, the states are arranged randomly; there is no logic in doing so. I have been seeing state-specific merchants like Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund, Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, and relief funds for Meghalaya, Odisha, Bihar, and Assam. One thing the app could do is that the app can identify my phone number to find out which state it belongs to, and if I’m currently residing in a different state, then rearrange these merchants to bring up my native state on top of the list.

e.g., 9497XXXXXX series numbers mostly belong [ If we don’t consider MNP ( Mobile Number Portability ) ] to BSNL Kerala & Lakshadweep. If I have a phone number that starts with this series, and if my current location is Delhi, I would most likely send some money to Kerala Relief Fund [ Because I care & miss my native state ].

Customer satisfaction level ( me > 75% )

There was a day in which I hated using Google Pay. I wanted to send some money to one of my friends, around 70K INR. But Google Pay kept rejecting my transactions. Maybe Google Pay was smart enough to understand that I was doing spam-transactions. After this experience, I didn’t use the app for a while.

spam-transactions

I have used Google Pay around 100 hundred times already [ 2019 end of August ], at least 25 of these transactions got failed due to some weird reasons, I can’t say why, maybe their servers were down, or perhaps bank servers were down, or UPI servers were experiencing high traffic.

Hick’s law

The time a user takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices.

The contrast between the endless choices & distractions PhonePe/Paytm and the neat but straightforward UI of Google Pay made it seem like a better option. That’s part of the reason why consumer experience is so influential.

In the Google Pay app, the UI is pretty neat, and color patterns are very eye-soothing [ sustained attention ]. Unlike Paytm, which shows a bunch of banners about this and that, Google pay keeps it simple.

PhonePe also has a color pattern problem. I can’t spend more than 3 or 4 seconds looking into the app’s home screen. The colors and the content have already given me enough cognitive load. Minimizing the cognitive amount by reducing the saturation of colors and the number of actions on the home screen will provide a better user experience.

The problem with Paytm is though Information overload. The home screen is full of actions, and the user has to spend a reasonable amount of time to make a decision.

phonepe-home

Rewards

Google Pay’s reward system is next-level. I am sure that you are aware of the reward system they introduced for Diwali, impressive, right?. Collecting stamps like Diya & Rangoli, it was fun to send/receive payments from family and friends.

I made a lot of payments to Swiggy, but I didn’t get any cash backs. But a couple of times, I paid to OLA through Google Pay. I got cashbacks, and I wonder what’s the logic in here. Whether Google pay decides it directly or OLA has any partnership with Google Pay.

google-pay-home

Showing the text “Better luck next time” is fuel to make more payments. Even though I am sad at that very moment, I am pretty sure that the app can’t show this message forever. Google Pay nailed it here, and this is one of the reasons why the app has sustained user retention rate and comparatively very less user-churn.

Innovation [Spot]

spot-code

I love the new Spot code. Now that Google Pay announced their new feature Spot, I would like to see merchants who are nearby, so that I can order coffee before even walking into the coffee shop.

I was not a big fan of QR code. I think I have never used it in any App. The spot code seems colorful and friendly. Though I loved the Audio QR feature introduced by Google, it was available in the Tez app as Tez Mode, now it is known as Nearby payments.

cult-track

I like seeing Cult.fit order status right inside Google Pay. Google Pay is building a whole ecosystem inside the app. Cult.fit or similar merchants uses a PGA [Progressive Web Apps], PhonePe also has a similar feature called PhonePe switch, but as a user, I feel like its a web view, but in Google Pay it feels like it’s a native view, so smooth.

Privacy

As with any Google product, privacy and security are core to the Spot Platform. No device permissions or data provided by the user to Google Pay is passed on without explicit user consent to the merchant Spot. Users can go back and review or modify these permissions anytime, for each Spot individually.

google-pay-merchant-auth-request

Even though Goole Pay provides the option to modify spot permissions anytime, I feel like Google is not investing enough time for advanced privacy features.

As a user who makes payments through Google Spots, I don’t want to share my full-name or email or profile picture with any of these Google Spot merchants.

Google Pay should offer an opt-in feature for users who would like to hide their account details from merchants.

Remember how Apple did it with Sign In With Apple feature? Apple created a randomized email address for my email address, and it is a unique email address only for me, and it follows a format: **@privaterelay.appleid.com**.

e.g., if alvin[email protected] is my Google account email, my unique, random email address for Google Spot will look like [email protected].

If I’m visiting Mumbai for a 30-day trip, I might end-up using Google Spot to order coffee/snacks in a minimum of 40 coffee/bakery shops. Imagine managing these shops/spots one by one on the settings page? It’s a cumbersome user experience. I would like to see more privacy-enabled features from Google in the coming months.

First response time

Speed is a stable determinant for customer satisfaction. Customers expect a smooth and efficient payment experience. Quickly showing incoming requests is essential, as the competitor is only a click away.

One thing Google Pay should do is highlight the user/merchant on top of the list when there is a new incoming UPI request. e.g., if I request payment for Swiggy, I would like to see Swiggy first or separately so that I can easily carry out the transactions. Now I have to find Swiggy in the merchant list, and then I have to refresh the page a couple of times to get the new incoming payment request.

Make me happy

I would like to see the total number of transactions I have done with a merchant/contact. It gives me a feeling ( pride/boast-able ) that I have done these many transactions. It’s the same for Uber. Uber doesn’t show me the total number of trips; I’m pretty sure that I have completed more than 500 rides.

Google Pay should assign a new category for charity/donations. Now, most of the state-level contributions mixed with merchants. Why?

The floating “New Payment” [ in versions > 48.0.001_RC03 ] button is quite a distraction. It is the only thing on this page which distracts me right now. Previously, “New Payment” or “New” was part of the contacts. Google Pay could remove this button and place it somewhere on the top of the app, where the user’s eyes meet the button directly. I spend around 5-6 seconds searching for this button.

International

Google Pay app has a user interface and user experience made for billions of users with an internationally adaptable design, which means that they will roll out the same app with the same layout and same set of features in other countries too.

Google is planning to build a similar payment system for other countries in the coming months. So keeping a unique UI & UX for users does make sense. It is also part of the reason why Google renamed the app from Tez to Google Pay.

What’s the future

I am a big fan of Suica or Pasmo cards in Japan. I can use the Suica card to pay for taxis, buses, metro or bullet trains, restaurants, and also even in vending machines. It would great if Google Pay comes into transportation, especially in buses. In urban & rural areas of India, people still follow the conventional ticketing system, you pay some amount to the bus-conductor, and they give you a ticket. Imagine, when I enter the bus, I scan the bus’s spot-code, and I scan the spot-code again while leaving the bus, and the money will get debited automatically from my account via UPI. If Google Pay can solve this issue, Google has the chance to find the next billion users.


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