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With the introduction of Android Pay, Google Wallet underwent some significant changes back in May of last year. Android Pay became Google’s main virtual mobile payment platform, competing directly with the likes of Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. Meanwhile, Google Wallet became an app that allows anyone with a US debit card to send and receive money for free within minutes – even if the other person doesn’t have the app. Well, the Google Wallet team just announced that its new web app is now available.
If anything, Google Wallet is competing with PayPal or Venmo (which is owned by PayPal). The former is more ubiquitously used, especially for international transactions whereas the latter is limited to the US, and targeted at millennials specifically. I’m glad that the web app is finally here because I can now say Google’s money transfer platform is on par with PayPal’s, if not better. They are both intuitive, secure, and convenient to use, but one advantage that Google Wallet has is that it will automatically transfer your money to your bank. That’s kind of a game changer for me because on PayPal and Venmo, the money you receive just sits there until you manually transfer it to your bank account.
The web app is unmistakably Google – it has a simple form in the middle, surrounded by Material Design elements. You set the amount, specify who the recipient is, and click send. It’s as simple as that. I’m curious to see if Google Wallet will gain traction in the coming years given the already saturated field. On one hand you have PayPal dominating the money transfer realm, and on the other, you have much more commonly used apps like Facebook and Snapchat with mobile transfer options integrated into their apps. Google Wallet’s approach of letting you receive money transfers even if you don’t have the app – which is similar to Google Allo’s – may work, but only time will tell if this strategy will pay off.