Gmail gains Google Wallet support

GoogleApps_June11_AE-commerce has become one of the largest arms of the Internet. Almost every company with a store has an online version where people can buy items from the comfort of their home or office. To date, the most common payment method has been credit cards, but the idea of e-wallets has started to take off. One service leading this trend is Google Wallet, which has recently introduced a new and useful, feature.

The new Google Wallet feature introduces the ability to send money as a Gmail attachment. Before we get into the update however, here is an overview of what Google Wallet is about.

What is Google Wallet?
The whole idea of Google Wallet is to provide you with an online ‘wallet’ that stores your payment information, (credit card, bank account numbers, and address), in the cloud. This is linked to your Google account. This service can be used across multiple devices, including your Android smartphone and tablet, and desktop browser.

Google Wallet has two main focuses – online and instore shopping. If you have the mobile app and a specific phone, you can use it to pay for items at stores that support this by simply tapping your phone on a terminal; no need to carry your physical credit or debit card. When you are shopping online, you can also click the Google Wallet button on supporting sites and your payment information, including your address, will be automatically added.

At the moment, the mobile app only works in the US, with no word on when it will be rolled out to other countries. The online version however is supported in the countries listed here.

Send money using Gmail
Google recently introduced a new function for Google Wallet which could prove to be useful. Gmail users in the US can now, (or will soon), have the ability to send money to others by simply using an email attachment.

If you already have a Google Wallet account, you can hover over the paperclip icon at the bottom of the compose message window in Gmail, and select the $ icon. You can then select the amount of money to attach. The email recipient will be able to claim the money, as long as they also have a Google Wallet account.

This feature is free for users who have linked their bank account to Google Wallet, or have an available balance. If you use a credit card, there is a charge of 2.9% per transaction.

Is this a good idea for businesses?
If your company has an online store or processes payments online, having a Google Wallet account could be a good idea, as it gives your customers another way to pay for their purchases.

The major downside though is that you need to have a Google Wallet account to receive money, and it is only for users in the US. This limits current usability, especially if you have customers outside of the US.

A common issue many companies focus on is how secure these transactions are. Google has noted that transactions are secure and can be monitored easily from the online version of Wallet. From what we can see, it may be a good idea to actually hold off supporting or accepting payment through email until this service has been out for a few months. It is highly likely that Google will push this functionality to more customers which will give you more time to prepare and ensure that payment through email is something your company could use.

If you would like to learn more about Google Wallet and how it could fit into your business, please contact us today.

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