For several years now, there have been new payment methods that not only make online purchases, but also in-store purchases more convenient and secure. Now, Google has just completely redesigned its mobile payments application with a new look and feel and a host of new features that could already be used in the US. The new Google Pay app moves from a regular contactless payment method to an all-in-one money app that focuses on managing personal finances.
It offers more intuitive peer-to-peer payments, great financial information, and built-in rewards for retailers. From 2021, users will also be able to open “Plex” bank accounts entirely online via the app.
Everything you can do with the Pay tab
This is the central and main tab of the application. This is exactly how it sounds when you manage your payments, both peer-to-peer and touch-to-pay at retailers. Not only can you use the app to send money to friends and make contactless payments, you can also split expenses into groups and place orders with companies.
According to Google, you can now order groceries from 100,000+ restaurants, buy gasoline from 30,000+ gas stations (i.e. Shell, ExxonMobil, and 76), and pay for parking in 400+ cities through the app. This means that you need one less food delivery app on your phone and you can reduce contact with touch-sensitive surfaces at gas stations and parking lots, which is highly compatible with COVID-19.
Payments have a chat-like view so you can easily keep track of when payments have been made or if there are any outstanding payments. If you have loyalty cards stored in your account, they should automatically appear in your “conversation” with the company in question, if Google Pay is available to assign them.
The Explore tab is essentially a landing page. At first glance, it resembles programs like Amex Offer and Chase Offer.
On this tab you can browse different offers and link them to your account. As Google describes it, you can save money and redeem offers without having to cut out coupons or copy and paste promo codes.
After activating an in-app offer, it will be automatically applied when you pay in-store or online with a linked card. Similar to online shopping portals, every cashback you earn is deposited into your Google Pay account. It is not an instant refund and you will need to wire it if you want to fund your bank account.
Right now, you can expect deals from top brands including Burger King, Etsy, REI Co-op, Sweetgreen, Target and Warby Parker. If you give Google permission to monitor your transactions, Google can receive personalized offers for you. It’s important to note that by default, Google Pay doesn’t use your transaction history to personalize your in-app experience. Additionally, Google Pay states that your data will never be sold to any third party or that your transaction log will be shared with the rest of Google for targeting ads.
The final tab of the application is Insights. Here you can see an overview of your expenses with each bank or credit account that you have connected to the app.
You will get summaries of the expenses and see their trends over time. For example, on Mondays you will get a summary of how much you spent over the weekend. Google Pay algorithms automatically classify your transactions so you can search for keywords like “food” or “flights” and find all relevant transactions.
According to Google, you can even search for more specific terms like “Mexican restaurants” or by location. While most credit cards and bank accounts allow you to sort transactions, you can’t look at this level of detail.
You can also link your Gmail and Google Photos accounts for more accurate results. If you choose to participate, Google Pay will automatically search for the receipts and link them to the corresponding transaction. Again, Google says it won’t share your transaction history with anyone and won’t use it to target ads.
Google and its alliance with 11 banks in the US
As part of the important announcement, it was also known that tech giant Google has announced an alliance with 11 banks in the US to launch a bank account service through its Google Pay payment application.
This way, starting next year, Google Pay users in the US will have access to an area called Google Plex, a digital and mobile bank. Plex accounts are not owned by Google, they are offered by 11 banks: BBVA, Citi, FCU Stanford, Seattle Bank, Harbor Bank of Maryland, FCU for Government Officials, BankMobile, BMO Harris, First Independence Bank, GreenDot and Coastal Community Bank.
Unlike Apple, which entered financial services with a Goldman Sachs credit card, Google offers checking and savings accounts. These accounts have no commission, do not charge customers overdrafts, and have no access requirements.
The move comes at a time when BBVA has decided to sell its US operations to PNC Financial for around $ 11.6 billion in cash, the company said this week.
Assuming you go for all the features, Google Pay has all of the tools you need in a money management app. Potentially makes transactions easier and more rewarding.
What lacks the most in the app is the integration of bank accounts, but as mentioned, that will come next year. The app also doesn’t let you track credit card points or miles, but you can use the new TPG app for that when it launches next year. Unlike Apple and its Apple Card, Google currently has no plans to launch its own credit card.