January 31, 2015
Google Wallet is now taking steps towards enhancing its international presence leveraging Gmail as a platform. Across geographies outside the US, Google Wallet was being used only for making in-app purchases on Google Play or for online checkout. Even the Google Wallet app is not available in many countries. But this new initiative is hinting at new Google Wallet strategies for the international market, bringing Gmail-based money transfer to the UK which would allow users to send money to Wallet accounts simply via email messages.
This means people in the UK will now be able to quickly and securely send money to friends and family in the UK directly within desktop Gmail, even if the recipient doesn’t have a Gmail address. Sending and receiving money in Gmail is free and easy. To send money in Gmail, hover over the attachment paperclip, click the £ icon to attach money to your message, enter the amount you wish to send, and press Send. You can also request money in Gmail by going through the same steps.
Here is a video illustration highlighting the service:
When you receive money for the first time, you’ll need to claim it by setting up a Google Wallet Balance and linking your debit card or bank account. After that, your money can be kept in your Wallet Balance for sending later, for spending on Google Play or you can also quickly transfer it to your bank account The new Gmail feature is being rolled out to all UK Gmail users who are above the age of 18. There is currently no information on other countries where the service will be offered next.
This is a big step towards extending Google Wallet’s capabilities. Especially for UK, it would be ideal if the Google Wallet app is also launched as UK citizens do have a track record of making contactless payments. Besides direct money transfers, the app provides for storage of gift and loyalty cards in addition to enabling contactless debit and credit card payments for NFC enabled Android phones.
With rising competition from other peer-to-peer payment services (PayPal, Venmo, and Square Cash just to mention a few) and the impending expansion of companies like Apple into the same market, Google is definitely making the right moves early on. Similar services like Apple Pay are growing in popularity and have set their sights on the U.K. next, but with Google taking advantage of its already large Gmail user base, Google wallet is sure to witness further growth in the near future.