Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has added the option to send and request money transfers directly via the Gmail app on Android without any additional software. The feature is now available for users in the U.S. only, with no indication from Google of when it will be expanded to the over one billion people who use Gmail on the web or Android around the world.
Sending money via the Gmail app now operates the same way as sending an attachment. Users just need to tap on the attachment icon and choose whether they want to send or request money.
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Recipients don’t need to have Gmail addresses and are able to receive or request money right from the email itself, also without having to install another payment app. They can even arrange for money they receive to go directly into their bank account. The service is completely free for both senders and receivers.
The payments system is naturally built on top of the Google Wallet service, which used to require its own separate app to work. Not to be confused with Android Pay, Google Wallet is just an app today, but used to offer a physical card for ATMs and purchases at point-of-sale as well as many mobile payment features such as NFC transactions before the launch of Android Pay.