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Google Pay’s massive relaunch makes it an all-encompassing money app

The Verge | | Nov 18, 2020

GooglePay - Google Pay’s massive relaunch makes it an all-encompassing money app

It (Google Pay) will include tap-to-pay, peer-to-peer, personal finance aggregation, customizable deals, and even full banking services

Today, Google Pay for both Android and iOS is relaunching with a giant array of new features. It turns the app from something that most people think of as a tap-to-pay card repository or peer-to-peer payment system into a much more ambitious service. The new app begins rolling out across the United States today.

The new version of the app will have three new tabs:

“Pay,” which includes peer-to-peer payments as well as your transaction history using tap-to-pay; “Explore,” which will be a place where Google will offer deals and discounts; and finally, “Insights,” which will allow you to connect your bank accounts to get a searchable overview of your finances.

You will even be given the option to allow Google Pay to crawl your Gmail inbox and your Google Photos account to look for receipts. Google will use OCR technology to auto-scan them and integrate them into your finance tracking.

In 2021, Google will partner with some banks to directly offer fully online checking and savings accounts inside Google Pay — a service Google is calling “Plex.”

Not all of these services are strictly new for Google, but this will mark the first time they’re unified into a single app. In doing so, Google Pay is now arguably a direct competitor to a wide array of other apps and services, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, Intuit’s Mint, Simplifi, Truebill, Shop, and also online banks like Ally. That is a lot of companies that will have to contend with Google making a high-profile push into their market.

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All of the advanced features are opt in, so if you prefer to simply use it as it currently exists today (as a tap-to-pay app on Android or peer-to-peer payments on the iPhone), you should be able to do that. Even so, this is a huge expansion of capabilities and data collection in a Google app that is likely to raise privacy concerns.

Google tells me that it has a policy to not sell or share data to third parties and that it will not “share your transaction history with the rest of Google for targeting ads.” It will also have a first-use experience that will present a series of privacy prompts and settings options. Unlike Apple Pay, Google’s servers will have access to your data so it can be analyzed and made searchable for you in the app — though the company assures that it’ll be strongly encrypted.

A stranger — and perhaps telling — privacy option is that those who want to get personalized deals will have the option to agree to a three-month “trial” of allowing Google to analyze their transaction history to customize their offers. After the three months, they’ll be prompted if they want to keep using that part of the service.

Let’s dig into what we know about each aspect of the service.


The rightmost tab in Google Pay is the place where the app will provide a lightweight version of apps like Mint and Simplifi that presents much of your financial information in one place. Google’s take on it is called “Insights,” and as you might expect, it heavily integrates both search and Google’s ability to process data with its algorithms. 

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After you connect your banking and credit accounts, Insights will begin to show you reports of your spending and saving as well as upcoming bills. It does this by scanning through your transactions rather than needing you to manually enter or categorize things. It works with standard checking, savings, debit, and credit cards.


In 2021, Google will launch a new banking service called Plex. It will let you handle basic checking and savings in the app, engaging directly with an online bank. This isn’t Google directly offering banking services, to be clear. Instead, Google will essentially let some banks use Google Pay as their banking app.

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