It’s not easy to send money digitally.
Paypal, an early leader in the field, requires users to have a Paypal account. Users of Venmo, a mobile app, must also have an account, plus download the app.
And Google Wallet, first announced two years ago, has struggled to get wireless carriers and phone manufacturers to install what is called near-field communication technology. NFC technology is what would make it possible for certain Android users to wave their phone at a retailer’s receiver to make a payment.
But now, Google has announced that it will allow Gmail users to attach money to emails, just as they would a photo or a document, as shown in the video. The move could radically transform the way we exchange money with friends, family and even businesses.
Users who link their bank accounts to Google Wallet receive transactions for free. Those using debit or credit cards pay a 2.9% transaction fee, and transactions are limited to $10,000.
Given that Google is the world’s largest email provider, this could help give mobile payments the push they’ve needed to go from being a novelty item to part of our everyday lives. As Quartz points out, text messaging has enabled mobile payments to become widely adopted in the developing world.
Google said it will gradually roll this service out to its Gmail users.