Google Now Adds Bill Payment To GMail

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 25, 2015

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Google is reportedly working on a system to allow users easily receive and pay their bills through Gmail. According to a report on Re/code, the service called Pony Express, may use third-party services to vet people’s personal information and pull in any bills they need to pay.

“Google could suck in the type of financial data that would allow it to expand into new businesses. Credit card bills and payment history would be a gateway into industries such as personal finance or lending. And the data could be used to refine how advertisements are targeted to individuals on Google, YouTube and partnering sites, though such a move would likely stoke privacy concerns, reads the report, which obtained the information through an internal document.

The service would also allow users to settle their debts within Gmail, either through Google Wallet, or a new service which Google may intend to set up. Although most service providers like insurance companies and telecoms already offer email-based bill-paying services, Pony Express would presumably make the payment process simpler by organizing all the bills into one folder, said the report.

While Google has not clearly mentioned whether it would generate any revenue directly from the Pony Express service, the service may not come without privacy concerns since it could give Google direct access to individuals’ financial data. The report suggests that it’s not clear whether Pony Express is a code name or one that will be used if it comes to market, as the company spokeswoman declined to comment.

According to the document, it appears Google is partnering with third-party vendors that print and mail out bills on behalf of service providers such as insurance companies, telecom companies and utilities. It’s not clear whether Google is also working directly with the service providers, too.

Earlier reports suggest, Google will announce a new strategy for its Google Wallet payment solution, which is now expected to be Pony Express as per Re/code. Experts believe, the service fits Google’s ongoing desire to bring all of the world’s information online, most notably its Google Books project, which has so far digitized well over 30 million volumes.

Apple introduced the new mobile payment service, Apple Pay, last year. Samsung catches up with its new Galaxy S6.  The race for market dominance in the mobile payment sector is expected to intensify this year, which will simplify payment processes, yet at the same time raise ample security concerns, which have to addressed in the coming days.

(photo courtesy: Reuters)