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 “Early Access” Invite-Only

The “Early Access” is Invite-Only and targets Millennials and Generation Z but it will soon be available everywhere.

The app shows friends and family you can pay directly through the app at the top of the screen with nearby businesses that accept Google Pay appearing below. That includes restaurants where users can both order and pay for food through Pay. If you’ve paid to that restaurant from apps such as DoorDash using Google Pay, you’ll see your order history on the page too.  

Beyond restaurants, the new Google Pay can also help you pay for gas at select gas stations and even help pay for parking, all from your smartphone. 

The new Google Pay is about more than just spending money, though, it’s also about managing it. Google has added a new feature that allows users to connect their bank or credit cards using Plaid. When enabled, Pay can update account info with your bank, show balances, and even track payments and transactions on those cards. The Insights tab can show how much money you’ve spent and how much you have, as well as searching for transactions quickly.

What about NFC payments? The heart and soul of the old Google Pay is still very much available, but in a different sense. At the top of the UI there’s a card indicator for your primary card and tapping it allows you to swap cards, view tickets, and access gift cards or loyalty cards. It’s a bit more cumbersome, though, which might irk some users.

Say Hello to Google Pay

All Encompassing Money App

The Verge reports Google Pay Relaunch Makes It an All-Encompassing Money App.

Google Pay for both Android and iOS is relaunching with a giant array of new features. It turns the app from something that most people think of as a tap-to-pay card repository or peer-to-peer payment system into a much more ambitious service. The new app begins rolling out across the United States today.

The new version of the app will have three new tabs: “Pay,” which includes peer-to-peer payments as well as your transaction history using tap-to-pay; “Explore,” which will be a place where Google will offer deals and discounts; and finally, “Insights,” which will allow you to connect your bank accounts to get a searchable overview of your finances.

In 2021, Google will partner with some banks to directly offer fully online checking and savings accounts inside Google Pay — a service Google is calling “Plex.”

Not all of these services are strictly new for Google, but this will mark the first time they’re unified into a single app. In doing so, Google Pay is now arguably a direct competitor to a wide array of other apps and services, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, Intuit’s Mint, Simplifi, Truebill, Shop, and also online banks like Ally. That is a lot of companies that will have to contend with Google making a high-profile push into their market.

Google tells me that it has a policy to not sell or share data to third parties and that it will not “share your transaction history with the rest of Google for targeting ads.” It will also have a first-use experience that will present a series of privacy prompts and settings options. Unlike Apple Pay, Google’s servers will have access to your data so it can be analyzed and made searchable for you in the app — though the company assures that it’ll be strongly encrypted.

Google tells me that it will not share any data with these retailers — though, of course, if you end up using one of these offers, that retailer will know you did because you’re spending money there.

All of the deals Google showed me consisted of cashback offers. That’s an important point because the cash that comes back will go into a Google Pay account. You’ll need to transfer it out if you want to deposit it into your bank account.

Plex

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Google has lined up 11 banks and credit unions to partner with, allowing you to pick the one you prefer. It also says that the checking and savings accounts will have no monthly fees, overdraft charges, or minimum balances.

Who Owns the Customer?

In one sense Google does not directly compete with banks because accounts are still tied to a bank.

But it is Google that really owns the customer and the data and it will be Google that will collect the fees (or the bulk of them if Google has to share), not the bank. 

Google will "sponsor" deals and make a tiny percentage off the transactions. 

The app requires support from retailers, but whether they like it or not, retailers will be forced to go along or lose business.

Expect quick adoption.

Also expect moans from those who already think Google is too big and want to break it up. 

But we should all cheer. If it benefits the consumer, and this does, it's good news.

Mish