Google Pay in India (formerly Tez) quickly rose in popularity to become almost synonymous with the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) — the very platform it’s based on. Last September, the company announced plans to expand beyond UPI payments to support tokenized cards, but nothing materialized even months after that initial teaser. It looks like Google Pay India is finally adding credit and debit cards as a supported payment option, though it isn't live for everyone yet.

A couple of Google Pay support pages went up recently to help people get on board with the new card payment option. Right now, only Axis Bank credit/debit and SBI credit cards are supported. Setting up your card for the first time requires you to undergo a quick verification process that involves punching in an OTP received from your bank. Once registered, you can start using your phone to tap & pay at NFC-enabled terminals, scan Bharat QR codes, or make online payments where Google Pay is accepted.

Left & Center: The new option to add cards. Right: When it's done.

Google notes that your sensitive card details will be tokenized to avoid sharing your actual information during transactions. These identifiers will be stored locally, which means you’ll have to set your cards up each time you reset your phone or get a new one — a small price to pay for maintaining your bank account’s privacy and security.

Some users started seeing the option to add cards close to a month back, while our tipster got it in the last day or two, indicating that it’s still work in progress. So far, only a subset of users is getting the feature, possibly as part of a server-side switch, so grabbing the latest APK wouldn’t guarantee any of these changes. It isn't clear if Google is currently testing things out before going for a broader release, or it's already in a slow rollout.

Google Pay has already had a tremendous run in India with the UPI platform. But if it wants to replicate that success in the cards space, it’ll have to tap into the nation’s debit card-heavy userbase and quickly get major banks on board — something Samsung Pay was able to do from day one.

New banks

Following a limited run last year, Google Pay India quickly expanded to cover Visa cards from several prominent banks in India, and the list has only grown since. The popular UPI app has now added support for credit and debit cards from IndusInd, taking the total to six banks. Here is a list of all the Indian banks that the app supports:

  • Axis Credit & Debit cards
  • SBI Credit & Debit cards
  • Kotak Credit & Debit cards
  • HSBC Credit card
  • HDFC Credit & Debit cards
  • IndusInd Credit & Debit cards

The onboarding process hasn’t changed, and you can follow the steps included above to get started with your supported cards from any of these banks. As before, you can only link your Visa cards with GPay, and the functionality is not yet available for Mastercard or RuPay users.

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