Technology

Google Pay to Roll Out SoundPod With Audio Alerts to Merchants in India After Year-Long Pilot


Google is rolling out the SoundPod — the company’s wireless speaker that can verify payments received over the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) instant payment system — to small merchants in India, the company announced on Thursday. The company started testing the device as part of a limited trial last year and has revealed that the rollout will take place later this year. Google Pay rivals PhonePe and Paytm — the latter faces RBI strictures over non-compliance with multiple rules — already offer similar products for merchants in the country.

In a blog post on Thursday, Google VP of Products for Google Pay Ambarish Kenghe announced that the company’s SoundPod would be rolled out to small merchants in the country “over the coming months”. During Google’s year-long trial of the SoundPod in India, the firm received positive feedback from merchants who participated in the trial, including faster checkouts, Kenghe said.

The SoundPod is equipped with an LCD screen and a single speaker. It supports 4G connectivity, according to Google. It has three LED indicators to show battery, charging, and connectivity status of the device, and features menu, volume, and power buttons.

The SoundPod has an LCD display and speaker that face the merchant
Photo Credit: Google

 

Paytm’s ‘Soundbox’ speakers offer between four to 12 days of battery life and feature 2G or 4G connectivity — two models are equipped with LCD screens, while another supports music playback over a Bluetooth connection. On the other hand, PhonePe’s SmartSpeaker offers up to four days of battery like on a single charge and supports multiple languages.

While the company hasn’t offered a concrete timeline for the arrival of the SoundPod in India, rivals like Paytm and PhonePe offer similar audio devices that are already in use by merchants across the country. Merchants also pay a monthly subscription — between Rs. 50 to Rs. 125 — to access these audio-based announcement service.

Google says that merchants will be able to choose between two subscriptions for the SoundPod — a Rs. 499 one-time fee followed by a Rs. 125 monthly subscription plan, or an annual subscription priced at Rs. 1,499. Merchants won’t have to pay the one-time fee when choosing the annual plan. Customers who receive 400 payments in a month via QR codes will get a guaranteed Rs. 125 cashback, according to the company.


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