Google is making it easier to send or request money from anywhere, and it is using its incredibly popular Gmail app as the centerpiece for mobile transactions. It is currently possible to send money to friends and family using Google Wallet via the desktop version of Gmail, and the functionality has been in place since 2013.
Today, Google is extending that same capability to the Gmail app for Android. Sending money with the app is very simple, as you initiate the transfer by clicking the attachment icon (the little paperclip) like you would for a document or an image/video. Once the other party receives the email, they will be able to easily retrieve the funds. And depending on how you configure the service, you can even have the money directly deposited into your bank account upon receipt.
Google is quick to point out that there are no fees for using Google Wallet via the Gmail app; neither on the sending nor the receiving end of the transaction. We should also mention that you can send money to any person, not just those with Gmail addresses. And as an added bonus, you don’t actually need to have the Google Wallet app installed; everything takes place within the Gmail app itself.
We should warn you that while this functionality has been extended to the Android version of the Gmail app, it is not [yet] available for iOS users. In addition, Google is currently limiting the feature to users that currently reside in the United States.
We could see this being used by people who need to send money in a pinch and don’t want to deal with tacky transaction fees. Need to pay a buddy for those college football tickets and the parking pass for tailgating? Just fire up Gmail. Need to give your friend some gas money for your multi-state road trip to see your favorite band perform? Gmail is now your answer.
It will be interesting to see if this payment feature takes off for Android users and when/if it will be provided to iOS users.