Google is a household name.  Snagging the spot as the world’s most valuable brand in 2017, and ranking above other top competitors like Apple and Amazon, the online powerhouse offers a variety of apps and services that boost organization, productivity, and connection amongst its users.

No longer just a search engine, though people worldwide “Google” something every day, Google has expanded its offerings to include its financial platform, Google Wallet.  It debuted in May of 2011, and since then has added a variety of features and functionality to make it an intuitive and user-friendly addition to the Google platform.

As one of several fast, free ways to send and request money online securely, it’s a popular online wallet choice.  Here we’ll outline the basics about what you need to know to get started with Google Wallet.  We’ll include details on Google payments, how they work, associated fees, international transfers, and discuss the security of the transactions.

How Do I Get a Google Wallet?

To sign up for a Google Wallet account, you can download the app on Google Play or from the App Store.  If you don’t have a compatible smartphone, you can also send or request money at wallet.google.com.

To sign up, you’ll need to have an email address with a valid password.

Once you’ve created your username, you can then link your Google Wallet account to a credit or debit card that you can use to make a Google payment to anyone with an email address.  You can also request money or complete other Google transactions.

Do I Have to Have the Wallet App to Receive Money?

If you’re sending a payment to someone who doesn’t use the app, or if you get a notification that you’ve received money from a Google Wallet account holder, it’s not mandatory that you download the app to get your cash.

Anyone without the Wallet app can set up an account to retrieve their funds that links directly to their bank account or debit card for a quick and secure transfer.

How Much Will I Pay in Fees When I Use Google Wallet?

Unlike some of their competitors, you will never pay any fees with a Google Pay account.  All money that’s sent or requested through the app is delivered to you and transferred to your checking or debit card for free.

Is Google Wallet Something I Can Use for Business Transactions?

While the app isn’t intended as the sole means of processing business transactions, you can use your Google payments account for commercial payments if you’re registered as a sole proprietorship.  You can adjust your status in the Settings tab when you configure your account.

You still won’t incur any fees from Google Wallet, and you won’t have any taxes withheld from your funds.  That said, you’ll want to file a W-9 form if you have more than 200 transactions or $20,000 in gross receipts as that’s the IRS’s threshold.

Google is under obligation to report any business money transfers to the IRS on a 1099-K form, but they may not send you a copy of this form, so it’s your responsibility to track your activity on the account.

If you are a registered corporation or non-profit, you cannot use Google Wallet for business transactions.

When Do I See the Money Transferred from Google Wallet in my Bank Account?

If you receive cash through Google payments, you can link it to a bank account or debit card so that it will transfer securely.  How long it takes to appear in your account will depend on your bank.  Some users see the funds within a few minutes, while other financial institutions may take up to three days to post.  Google sends the money instantaneously when you make the request, so if you experience a long delay contact your bank to resolve the issue.

Is Google Wallet Secure?

Whether you’re making a payment using one of your Google cards linked to your account, transferring money, or requesting funds, Google keeps your information locked down tight.

All of your data is stored on secure servers and encrypted through SSL technology that is the standard benchmark in the industry.  SSL stands for secure socket layer and is the process by which a client machine and secure server interact.  This type of encryption is used on millions of systems worldwide and keeps your information private.

The Google Wallet app doesn’t ever show your full account information and has additional security features you can enable to keep your data safe.  You can require a PIN to access the application, and your device may also have password or fingerprint technology to protect sensitive information on your phone or computer further.

Also, Google Wallet provides fraud protection to all of its account holders.  This protects you 100 percent against all unverified transactions if you report them within 120 days.  

Can I Get a Google Wallet Debit Card?

As online wallet technology continues to evolve, so do the options that allow you to access the funds.  Google Wallet launched their debit card service in 2013, but after an unsuccessful run, they decided to pull the plug on that particular product.

As of July 1, 2016, the company no longer offers or supports Google cards.  However, you can still use your balance online to send or request money.

Can I Send Money with Google Wallet Via a Text Message?

One unique feature of the Google Wallet app is the ability to send or receive money in messages.  First, you’ll need to ensure that the app is installed on your phone and Wallet for Messages is turned “on” in your settings.

Once you’ve configured that step, you can simply open a new text message, click on the Google Wallet icon, and then input the amount of money you would like to send to the recipient.  You can also choose a payment method or add a new payment method directly in the message.

To claim the money, all you’ll need to do is click on the funds sent via message and choose the payment method where you want them transferred.  

Does Google Wallet Have Tracking Capabilities?

Have you ever been the one in charge of collecting money for a group gift for a family member or co-worker?  Keeping track of who has contributed and how much can be time-consuming, and it’s not uncommon to have to hunt down a few people who haven’t yet paid once the process is over.

One of the most significant advantages of the Google Wallet app is its ability to streamline this process.  The user-friendly interface allows you to view and manage transactions quickly, and to keep track of your money requests versus who has paid.

This makes it a simple way to collect on a group gift and send reminders to anyone with an outstanding balance.

Is Google Wallet or PayPal the Better Choice?

There are lots of different ways to send and receive money online.  Each has their pros and cons.  PayPal is one of the best known and most popular providers, and for a good reason.  The services offer a plethora of tools for both businesses and individuals to conduct financial transactions online.

Notably, PayPal has a robust business services platform that includes capabilities that Google Wallet does not.  If you need to be able to send invoices from your business, process credit card information, and track client data, PayPal could be a better choice to meet your needs.  However, expect to pay a fee for every transaction you make using the service.

In terms of free money transfer between friends and family, Google Wallet and PayPal have nearly identical offerings.  They both require an email address and a bank account or debit card to be linked to your log on so that you can transfer money, and neither charge a fee.  PayPal does offer a debit card option if you want to be able to access the funds in your PayPal balance without having to transfer them, while Google Wallet does not.

If you already have a Google or Gmail account, you can use that information to get started on your Google Wallet set up.  With PayPal, you’ll need a valid email address and will have to create your account from scratch.  

As the capabilities are very comparable, it makes sense to download whichever app is most user-friendly for you.

What is the Future of Google Wallet?

When Google acquired the mobile payments app Softcard in early 2015 many industry analysts predicted that they were going to develop a new payment system with more robust capabilities.  They have.

In late 2015 Google unveiled Android Pay, an open-platform API that lets users may credit card payments via mobile app both in stores and online.  The app is partnered with over 700,000 retailers and works with all the major credit card companies.

Although the launch and subsequent development of Android Pay have been hugely successful, Google doesn’t have any plans to replace Google Wallet completely.  The company says that the app will stay in their arsenal as a peer to peer money transfer service.  Android Pay is an entirely separate, next generation development that gives you the ability to process secure transactions from your phone.

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