Google Pay rolls out the next evolution in mobile money management

November 23, 2020 | By Jorn Lambert

When digital wallets first emerged more than five years ago, they dominated headlines around the world and promised a revolution in payments. This was the first step in managing cards and enabling payments with a mobile phone, but changing people’s behaviors – particularly involving money – isn’t easy.

Over time, the evolution of digital-first experiences expanded beyond wallet capabilities to include sending money from person to person and splitting bills. These apps have become smarter and more intuitive, expanding from a checkout tool into a hub for personal financial management and quickly replacing our physical wallets.

Today’s mobile money management tools are being connected to checking accounts, debit cards, enhanced spending insights and merchant offers to give people more control of their money from their phones. We’re seeing some significant rollouts that indicate that the next step in these services is happening. This includes the expansion of Google Pay as a service in Europe and the launch of the Google Pay platform in the United States, which includes the Citi Plex Account offering and associated Mastercard debit card.

The redesign of Google Pay and the creation of these financial services will help make digital money even more useful for people in their daily lives, helping them quickly transfer funds to their friends and family, make purchases online and in stores, and manage their monthly budgets. During the pandemic, these tools will help people shop the way they want, whether online or with contactless payments in stores.

As tech and payments companies keep developing these concepts, we can expect digital payments to become even more seamless, helping people avoid checkout lines in more places and paying for all kinds of services while on the go.

Smarter, simpler money management in the U.S.

In the U.S., Citi last week said it selected Mastercard as its network partner for the Citi Plex Account on Google Pay, a new digital checking and savings account built with financial wellness and mobile tools at the core of its design. These tools will include in-depth insights into spending habits, budgeting tools and the ability to send money directly to friends. The first offering is the Citi Plex Account with a debit Mastercard, a digital debit card that’s automatically loaded and ready to use in your Google Pay wallet. There will also be an option to request a physical contactless card, providing customers the choice to pay when, where and how they want via debit card, smartphone or online.

Shoppers in Europe switch to contactless

During the pandemic, European shoppers have embraced touch-free ways to pay, with contactless representing nearly 80% of face-to-face transactions across the continent this year. Mastercard’s tokenization technology is ensuring secure and convenient payments for consumers by helping bring Google Pay to people across Europe, expanding the service to 10 countries. Working with issuers and financial tech companies, Mastercard has made Google Pay available to cardholders across Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Romania. 

Tapping into a trend

It has taken years, but the mainstream world is now ready for contactless payments. As tap-to-pay checkouts have rolled out over the past decade, everyone from neighborhood businesses to national grocery and pharmacy chains are now encouraging tap-and-go payments and mobile checkout. That change has been especially useful during the pandemic, as many shoppers look for touch-free options. Delivery apps and online ticketing are joining in, enabling shoppers to check out right from their own devices. That's good news right now, while we’re spending more time at home, and for the future, when we can avoid long lines at movie theaters and stadiums by using this technology.

The pandemic may have driven the emergence of the more mobile-focused shopper, but now with the help of more sophisticated mobile money management tools, these new shopping behaviors should be here to stay.

Photo of Jorn Lambert