Google Pay has evolved quite a bit in the past few years. What was once a tap-to-pay card wallet has now expanded to banking, peer-to-peer transactions, and much more. Google is officially relaunching Google Pay on Wednesday with a refreshed set of features and a broader identity.
Users can now integrate Google with even more of their financial lives. Whether or not that is something people want to do (or feel comfortable with) remains to be seen. Regardless, it is a big step forward for Google Pay as the worlds of Big Tech and finance become more entangled than ever.
What’s New in Google Pay?
As of Wednesday, the Google Pay app for both iOS and Android is getting updated to include an array of new features. These greatly expand its capabilities and make it a much more useful app.
The latest version is divided into three tabs—Pay, Explore, and Insights. Each section of the app gives users different ways to interact with their finances. Pay, as the name suggests, includes capabilities for both peer-to-peer payments and tap-to-pay. It delivers the experience that most people would associate with the existing version of Google Pay.
Meanwhile, Google will use Explore to give customers discounts, coupons, and rewards points for their shopping. It’s unclear exactly what users can expect to find here, but it should become clearer in the coming days.
The third tab, Insights, is arguably the biggest improvement for Google Pay. It’s also the most controversial. Insights gives users a way to search through an overview of their financial history by connecting their bank accounts and credit cards. The Google Pay app can also integrate with Gmail and Google Photos to automatically search for receipts before automatically integrating them into the user’s financial history.
The lineup of new features will drastically change how people think of Google Pay. It could also spell trouble for other apps in the financial space. Google Pay’s new features put it in competition with the likes of PayPal, Apple Pay, Venmo, Square, Intuit Mint, Simplifi, Truebill, and many others.
It’s worth noting that users will have to opt-in to the new features. Those who want to keep using Google Pay as it was before the update will be able to do so.
More to Come
Despite the fact that Wednesday’s update is completely revamping Google Pay, the company still has more up its sleeve. Next year, Google plans to launch its new banking service under the name Plex.
It will give users the option to create and manage checking and savings accounts directly in the Google Pay app. It’s worth noting that Google itself isn’t offering the banking services. Rather, a number of partner banks will give customers the ability to use Google Pay as their mobile banking app. Noteworthy partners include Citi, Stanford Federal Credit Union, BMO, and BBVA.
Aside from performing financial transactions, Plex users will also be able to set money management goals and savings targets.
Those who are willing to trust Google with their banking should have a lot to look forward to. Others might want to wait and see what the public reception is like.