Google’s ‘Pony Express’ To Make Bill Payments A Breeze Via Gmail

Email may not have lived up to early expectations that it would kill off the U.S. Post Office, but it (and online Bill Pay, Dropbox, and the like) certainly put a crimp in the mail carrier’s style. Now, Google is giving email a chance to strike another blow: an upcoming feature will make it easier for you to receive bills in your email inbox and pay them from your email.

Google is planning to launch a bill pay service that works from within gmail
Image credit (all images): Re/code

Google’s Pony Express came to light in a document examined by Re/code. Google seems to be seeking partnerships with companies that mail bills for various businesses -- a move that makes a lot of sense. Google can work with those companies to convert those bills to digital bills that would be emailed to users (and of course save on postage costs).

It looks as though you’ll have to provide a credit card number, your name, and your address, which isn’t surprising. But it also appears that entering your social security number is part of the signup process. That’s a step that might throw some people; you don’t need to provide that info when you respond to a paper bill (or even when you typically pay bills at company websites).

ponyexpress 02
Image credit: Re/code

Once you sign up, you’ll be able to read the bill in your email and pay it from the email, as well. It looks like you can also share the bill with another person, so long as he or she has a Gmail account.

It’s not clear yet whether Google will stick with the name Pony Express or whether that’s just a working name while Google gets the service off the ground. We’ll find out soon enough -- the document reviewed by Re/code suggests the service will be up and running by the fourth quarter of this year.