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Google Wallet: The Check Is in the Email

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One of the world’s best-known tech companies has been working hard to broaden the scope of its mobile payment program for the past few years, and now will allow users to send money through the system, or their own bank accounts, via email.

Consumers will now have the option to attach money to messages sent through Gmail using Google Wallet, according to a recent announcement from Google. The payment system will work just like any other attachment — a picture, document, video, or more — they might affix to such a message, with users being able to click the “Attach money” option in the standard Gmail toolbar to send money to friends.

The system will allow users to send money with no fee at all as long as the funds come from either Google Wallet, or their existing bank accounts, the report said. However, they can also send money from debit or credit cards with a small fee — 2.9 percent of the transaction’s value, with a minimum charge of 30 cents — attached. Those receiving the funds, though, will never have to pay anything to do so. Moreover, those receiving the funds can do so even if they themselves don’t have a Gmail account of their own.

“This feature will be rolling out to Gmail users ages 18-plus in the U.S. over the next few months,” the report said. “Look for the ‘$’ icon in your attachment options. You can also get earlier access if your friends have the feature and send money to you.”

This is just the latest way in which Google will allow consumers to integrate their finances into the online accounts they use every day, as the company has also been trying to gain more traction with its mobile option for some time. Users are also able to send money to friends using the Wallet app on their mobile phones, the report said.

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In general, it’s believed that consumers will start to adopt these types of mobile wallet programs more heavily in the future, when near-field communications technology becomes more readily available in smartphones.

Currently, the iPhone does not support this type of technology, and only some Android-capable handsets are set up to enable the payments. However, experts believe the programs will be worth tens of billions of dollars annually within just a few years.

Image: iStockphoto

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