18 February 2021
Google Pay started off as a simple-to-use app meant for sending and receiving payments from your family/friends as well as for paying for orders at online and offline stores. It is now receiving a major update on Android and iOS that essentially makes it a one-stop solution for all your payment transfer and personal finance management needs.
The new Google Pay app features three individual tabs: Explore, Pay, and Insights. It is not hard to guess that each of these tabs has a particular purpose to serve. The Pay tab is simply the original home screen from where you can choose the person or business for sending a payment to. You can also request money from your family/friends from here. The first section of the tab shows a list of contacts that you have recently engaged with. Similarly, recently used businesses are listed in the second section.
Tapping on a particular contact/business will open a new window showing the whole transaction history in the form of a conversation layout. For most businesses, it should also show your loyalty/rewards card if you have one. Businesses can also use this layout for sharing offers with you. Lastly, you can also use the app for sharing bills and splitting amounts by making groups, order food via over 100,000 restaurants, buying gas at over 30,000 stations, and paying for parking in over 400 cities.
The Explore tab in the app is all about exploring deals and offers. There will be random and generic deals listed in the section by default but you can choose to get personalized ones. Google will need to analyze your shopping behavior for being able to do that and you will need to grant permission as well. If you are not sure whether the extra step is worth it, you can take it for a spin for three months after which Google will send you a reminder asking if you wish to continue or end it. This three-month period is officially termed as "trial".
One of the good things that Google has done is to offer an "Activate" button for each deal. Tapping on the button will automatically apply the offer for you and thus eliminating the need to remember and manually enter the coupon code. It should be noted that the majority of these deals are in the form of cashback which will be added to your Google Pay account. If you wish to transfer it to your actual bank account, you will have to do that manually.
In terms of privacy, Google is assuring that none of the data will be shared with any of the retailers or Google product and services.
The third tab in the new Google Pay app is called Insights. As you might have guessed, it will offer you insights related to your spending habits. While it will focus on transactions done through the Google Pay app, a user can choose to offer integration with his Gmail and Google Photos accounts for a deeper dive. In the case of the Photos integration, it will look for photos of bills/receipts.
The app will also show you reminders for upcoming payments/bills along with a list. All of these data and insights will be shown to you in an easy to understand format as shown in the image below. If you are looking for a particular transaction from the past, Google will let you search for it using keywords like product purchased, store name, date range, etc.
Google Plex is essentially a mobile banking service that will become available in 2021. The service will live on within the Google Pay app and will help users manage their bank accounts. It will work with banks and financial institutions that will choose to partner with Google for offering the integration.
It already has 11 banks and credit unions on board for the launch. If you happen to have an active account with any of these partners, you will be able to check account details directly from the Google Pay application. It will offer services like checking and savings accounts with no monthly fees, overdraft charges, or minimum balance requirements and help you save toward your goals more easily.