Google has enabled a new feature within GMail which integrates with Google Wallet and allows users to make payments within an email.
The feature was announced at the recent Google I/O conference, and is explained on the Google blog:
Paying back your friends is now as simple as sending an email, whether you’re chipping in for lunch or reimbursing your roommate for your share of the rent. Google Wallet is now integrated with Gmail, so you can quickly and securely send money to friends and family directly within Gmail — even if they don’t have a Gmail address. It’s free to send money if your bank account is linked to Google Wallet or using your Google Wallet balance, and low fees apply to send money using your linked credit or debit card.
You may have noticed the “low fees” in the last sentence there; it’s free to send money from your Google Wallet Balance or directly from a bank account that you link up to your GMail account. You can also pay with your credit and debit cards for a fee of 2.9% per transaction (minimum $0.30). It is always free to receive money.
This feature is currently only available in the US, but you can find out more here. Given GMail has in the region of 400-500 million users worldwide, it would be profitable for Google should it be rolled out globally.
NetBanker has taken a first look at this integration, highlighting the positives and negatives of paying by GMail. Others have suggested that P2P payment systems such as this struggle to gain traction not because they’re badly implemented, but because people simply do not have the need to make that many P2P transactions compared with commerce transactions, which makes you wonder whether ultimately Google will look to extend its functionality to paying companies.
The following video shows it in action:
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