Google Wallet has long been available in the US, but has yet to take any real steps in any other regions. With the prospect of Apple Pay coming to the UK in 2015, it seems the search engine giant is now ready to start making its move - though it's a small one to start. Google is bringing a P2P (peer-to-peer) Gmail money transfer system to the UK, identical to the service that has been available in the US since May 2013. This will allow Gmail users over the age of 18 in the UK to attach payments in emails to their friends much like the would a document. Check out the video below to see it in action.
What's handy is, recipients do not have to use Gmail to accept the payments, which would have been a very impractical sticking point. Of course, users do need to set up a Google Wallet balance, registering a debit card or bank account.
Google's hesitancy to bring its Wallet app to Android and iOS devices in the UK had sparked some speculation that the company would never explore payments outside of the US. I think this is unlikely, and Apple's movements have probably accelerated Google's plans and ambitions in European markets. I fully expect to see a battle in the UK between Apple Pay and Google Wallet this year. What differentiates it from the battle in the US, is the burgeoning presence of contactless cards already in the UK. You can be sure will be keeping a close eye on it here at Ensygnia.
By Matthew Taylor 29th January 2015
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