Google Extends P2P to U.K. via Google Wallet (Feb. 2, 2015)
Google this month extended its Gmail-based money transfer feature to the U.K., marking the search giant’s first P2P foray outside the U.S. If successful, the move could help Google expand awareness of Google Wallet internationally before Apple Pay makes its expected move into the U.K. and other global markets, observers say. Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook last week told analysts during a quarterly briefing that he sees “a big opportunity” for Apple Pay internationally.
Google Wallet introduced its P2P service in the U.S. in 2013, and it operates similarly in the U.K. To send funds, users link a bank account to Google Wallet, compose an email and click on an amount to send to a U.K. recipient through the attachment feature. Recipients must set up a Google Wallet account and link a debit card or bank account to receive funds. Google Wallet is not enabled for POS payments outside the U.S., but U.K. users may store funds in the wallet for P2P payments or for making online purchases via Google Play. As in the U.S., consumers pay no fees to send money via a debit card or bank account, but in the U.K. there is no option to send funds using a credit card (in the U.S. that feature carries a fee of 2.9 percent).
Google might see P2P as a good way to introduce Google Wallet to the U.K. before broadening its reach, suggests Zilvinas Bareisis, a senior analyst with U.K.-based Celent. “Once Google Wallet establishes a customer base, it could then take on Apple Pay more directly by rolling out its full wallet services to Android users in the U.K., which is a sizable segment,” Bareisis tells Paybefore.
P2P options already abound in the U.K., so Google will have some competition. Paym, which launched last year, joins existing P2P services from banks, including Barclays with Pingit and NatWest with Pay Your Contacts. The service enables U.K. account holders from participating banks to send money to other bank customers using a mobile phone number. A registration process to link mobile numbers to bank accounts is required. Up to 1.8 million U.K. consumers have signed up for Paym, which has processed £26 million (US$39.1 million) in funds transfers since its launch in April last year, according to a Finextra report.
See related stories:
- Barclays Pingit Mobile-to-Mobile Service Open to All U.K. Bank Customers
- K. Banks Debut P2P Payments Service
- P2P Options Expand as Competitors Place Bets on the Future