By Alexandra Burlacu | May 16, 2013 11:22 AM EDT
Google announced two major updates to its Wallet platform, which now allows users to send money to friends from Google Wallet or directly from Gmail.
Google will make the transfer quickly and securely, and the recipient doesn't even need to have a Gmail account to receive the money. The service is completely free if users send money from their Wallet balance or if they've linked a bank account to Wallet.
"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," explains Google. "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."
Sending money is currently available on the desktop only, but users can send payments from mobile by visiting wallet.google.com on their mobile device. For now, only U.S. residents over the age of 18 can enjoy these new features. Those who don't have access to Google Wallet yet, but have a friend who does, can ask that friend to send money as an invitation and get early access.
Google is rolling out the new features "over the coming months" to all Gmail users over 18 in the U.S. Users will see an "$" icon in their attachment options once the feature becomes available.
Users can now add a bank account to Wallet, though it will take roughly four fays for Google to verify the bank account in question. Users who want to send money to friends can choose their Wallet balance, a credit card on file, or the linked bank account. Google ditched normal credit card fees during the promotional period. Once users received their payment, the money will show up on their Wallet Balance with an option to transfer the funds directly to their bank account.
While this alone may not be enough to get loyal PayPal users to switch to Google Wallet, the search giant has another neat feature up its sleeve. Google aims to make shopping easier and more secure on Android devices, and to this endeavor the company added a one-click checkout button to simplify the process. All users have to do it tap the checkout button, review their billing and shipping information and tap again to submit. Needless to say, the eCommerce site users are shopping from must support Google Wallet.
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