Google challenges PayPal, Amazon Payments, and others with innovative new version of Google Wallet

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Google is in the process of rolling out new features to Google Wallet that will bring them in direct competition with PayPal, Amazon Payments and others.  With the new version of Google Wallet, you can pay friends and relatives electronically, and you can even initiate payments directly from within Gmail.

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Payments sent from a linked bank account or from your Google Wallet balance are free.  And, for a yet to be defined “promotional period” credit and debit card payments are also free.  Eventually Google Wallet will charge a 2.9% service fee for those transactions (with a minimum fee of 30 cents).

Getting the new Google Wallet

Its free to sign up for Google Wallet, so you might as well do so if you haven’t already.  At this point, though, the ability to send money to friends is being rolled out slowly.  Your choices are to wait for Google to roll it out to you or ask a friend (who already has the new features) to send you a penny.  Anyone who receives money from Google Wallet automatically gets the new features.

Write “pick me!” in the comments of this post and I might send a penny to you to get you started.  I say “might” because I’m not sure how many I’ll get away with before I trigger some kind of fraud alert.  I’ll do just a few at a time for a while.  Sorry, but I already have more requests than I’m likely to ever get to!  I’ve deleted all of the “pick me” comments so that we can keep the comments section for discussion.

Fees

Here are the details from the Google Wallet Help pages:

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As you can see, Google describes a 2.9% fee for sending money using a credit or debit card.  In practice, though, Google is not currently charging fees:

image

Notice above how the fee is crossed out?  And, if you press the little question mark button, you get the following:

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So, for some undisclosed amount of time, Google Wallet is entirely fee free.

Limits & thresholds

The best alternative service for sending money to friends via credit cards for free is Amazon Payments.  Amazon Payments has a limit of $1000 per calendar month.  So, what about Google Wallet?  Their stated limits are extremely high:

image

As you can see above, their Help pages say that they allow up to $10K per transaction and up to $50K per 5 day period.  In practice, though, there seems to be more going on.  When I tested sending $75 to a friend, the money went through in minutes.  I then tried sending $1700.  Two days later, the transaction is still pending.  Similarly, a friend I know sent $1000 and that transaction has been pending for about a day.

My guess is that there are transaction thresholds.  Any transactions above a certain dollar amount gets flagged for review.  Unfortunately, I don’t know if that theory is true, nor do I know what the threshold is (if the theory is true).

There is also a chance that Google is actively watching out for people who are using Google Wallet just to earn points & miles.  Within this Flyertalk thread, a contributor claimed to have received the following email from Google:

Hello,

We recently noticed that you’re adding then withdrawing lots of funds from your Google Wallet Balance or sending/receiving money in a way that may violate our Terms of Service.

We wanted to offer a friendly reminder that the peer to peer service is intended for Google Wallet customers to send money to other persons, and not to rack up airline miles/rewards points or get cash advances. We view such transactions as misconduct under section 7 of the Google Wallet Terms of Services, and may decline to process such transactions or close your account if we identify in the future that you are using your account for these purposes.

I don’t know whether the email was real, or if this person was simply trying to scare people away, but either way it is a good reminder to go slow.  Here is the relevant part of section 7 of the Google Wallet Terms of Service:

7. Limitations on Use of Services

Notwithstanding any limitations described elsewhere in this Agreement, we may establish general practices and limits concerning use of the Services, including without limitation individual or aggregate transaction limits on the dollar amount or number of transactions during any specified time period(s). We reserve the right to change, suspend or discontinue any aspect of the Services at any time, including hours of operation or availability of the Services or any Service feature, without notice and without liability. We also reserve the right to impose limits on certain Service features or restrict access to some or all of the Services without notice and without liability. We may decline to process any transaction without prior notice to you.

GPC may delay, hold, cancel or reverse processing of any transaction if:

(a) a Sender makes a claim to GPC for a refund or other reversal, or

(b) GPC, in its sole discretion, believes that the transaction is invalid, suspicious, involves misconduct or fraud, or otherwise violates Applicable Law, this Agreement, or any applicable GPC or Google policies.

Questions and Answers

In this section I’ll try to anticipate readers’ questions, and I’ll answer them as well as I can.  I’ll update this section as we learn more.

Q: Why should I care about Google Wallet?

A: While it is pretty cool that Google Wallet lets you send money directly from Gmail, it is also potentially a great way to manufacture credit card spend.  It could be used, for example, to help meet minimum spend requirements on a new credit card.

Q: Will I earn points/rewards on my credit card when I use it to make payments?

A: Yes.  Here is what Google has to say about that:

You should continue to earn rewards points for purchases through your card issuer’s credit or debit card rewards program (such as gas, grocery, and restaurants purchases, and overall spending), if applicable. Certain benefits and rewards may not be applied when using Google Wallet, such as merchant specific rewards (e.g. double points at a specific merchant with a specific card). Applicability of rewards and other benefits (such as purchase protection or insurance) will be decided by your card issuers and not Google Wallet.

Q: Do credit card companies treat these payments as cash advances?

A: No, these payments are treated as a regular purchases. 

Q: Do any cards offer bonus points for this category of spend?

A: Probably not, but there is a chance that the American Express Business Gold Rewards card may give 2 points per dollar.  From my American Express account, the Google Wallet payment shows up as “GOOGLE WALLET A” in the category “BUSINESS SERVICES – INTERNET SERVICES.”  There is a slight chance that this will qualify as an advertising expense for double points.  Hopefully we’ll learn the answer to that question soon.

Q: How much is safe to send?  And, how often?

A: We simply don’t know the answer to that yet.  Until we learn more, I’d recommend doing no more than $500 per month.

Q: Can I send money to my spouse or friend and have him/her send money back to me?

A: Technically you could do that, but I think that would be very likely to trigger a fraud alert.  It would be wiser to go in one direction and have your spouse or friend send the money back to you through a different mechanism.

Q: Can I use Amex, Visa, or MasterCard gift cards to send money?

A: I haven’t tried that yet, but it should work.  Make sure to register the gift card with your name and home address before attempting to use it to send money.

Q: How do I take out money that has been sent to me?

A: You need to link (and verify) a bank account.  Then, you can withdraw money to your bank account at any time.

Q: Can I send money using Google Play gift cards?

A: No.

Q: Can I send money with Amazon Payments using Amazon gift cards?

A: No.

Q: A while ago you wrote that Google Wallet was coming out with a physical credit/debit card.  When will we see that?

A: I wrote about the physical Google Wallet card in the post “Google Wallet takes physical form. Are more points in our future?”  Unfortunately, Google recently dropped their plans for this physical card.  You can read the details here: Ahead of I/O, Google Wallet Drops Plans to Introduce a Physical Card.

 

Hat Tip to reader Eric N for letting me know about the new features in Google Wallet!

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[…] Google Wallet, and the points world thought it would be the new and improved Amazon Payments (see Frequent Miler’s post on it). But then they suddenly changed it to include a 2.9% fee for all credit card transactions. […]

Steve

Hi, can someone send me a penny please? I’d like to start using this feature.
schang172@gmail.com
Thanks!

Megan

Hi! I’d love to start using this, could someone send me a penny as well? long.megana@gmail.com

Thanks!

curt

Can someone send me a penny, please. kitemaui@gmail.com

FrequentMiler

Toni: They started charging for credit card payments after I published this. See this update: https://frequentmiler.com/2013/06/06/google-wallet-loses-its-luster/

Toni

Hi! Thanks for the great info. So, I’m wondering if I am missing something here. I just went to go send some money via a credit card and it said that there was no fee up to $250 during the promotional period, but after that $250, I would get charged the 2.9% fee. I tried putting in $300 and sure enough it had a fee attached to the total. Just happened today, 06/16/2013. Did I do something wrong? Thanks!

[…] In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, please see my prior post “Google challenges PayPal, Amazon Payments, and others with innovative new version of Google Wallet.” […]

J

Phew.
I don’t think so either. Guess we’ll won’t know for sure until it happens. :/

Frequent Miler

Grant / J: I think that your Google Wallet account might get shut down, but I don’t think your Gmail account would be.

[…] you needed yet another reason to have more manufacturing spend methods…Google gets into the game, Frequent Miler has the scoop. […]

Grant

Before you guys go crazy with Google Wallet, read the email I recevied from the Google Wallet team about sending/receiving/withdrawing lots of money with Google Wallet: http://travelwithgrant.com/2013/06/01/play-nice-google-wallet/

J

@Grant…that last bit is what I’m most worried about. If I lose access to my gmail account, I will be up sh*t creek.

I’m thinking of unlinking all my info from this GW account and then creating a GW account with one of my other email address.

Christian

This blog is giving out invites: mythirteencents.blogspot.com

Peter

Please send a penny!

ss

Please send a penny!

[…] won’t reinvent the wheel here. Head on over to Frequent Miler’s wonderful post where he answers just about every question imaginable about this new (albeit temporary) point […]

[…] week I introduced Google Wallet in the post “Google challenges PayPal, Amazon Payments, and others with innovative new version of Google Wallet.”  Google Wallet is a new way to send money to friends and relatives over the […]

Grant

I have a few pennies that are looking for a new home. Enter “twgpenny” and leave a comment and I will send you a penny.
.
http://travelwithgrant.com/2013/05/20/google-wallet-invite/

Grant

Q: Can I use Amex, Visa, or MasterCard gift cards to send money?

A: I haven’t tried that yet, but it should work. Make sure to register the gift card with your name and home address before attempting to use it to send money.

$200 Vanilla Visa GC from OD work fine. Google Wallet places a $1 hold (falls off after 1-2 days) but you can send $199 right away and $1 in a few days.

Jerry

Could someone pleeeese send me a penny at jerry.dugger@gmail.com. Thanks for the help!!

[…] Miler discusses Google’s new answer to PayPal, Venmo, and Amazon Payments, which allows users to send payments through Gmail and – at the moment – is waiving fees for […]

[…] links to a pretty extensive post on it, so I won’t go into too much detail here, but addressing some […]

JR

Looks like the $200 Visa Vanilla Gift card from Staples worked for me but they put a $1 hold so you should be able to send for $199.

Neal

Could someone lend me a penny

Ed

Would appreciate a penny if anyone’s willing.

[…] If you’ve paid attention to the CC churning space at all you know that the holy grail is a service which allows for “purchase” transactions (as opposed to cash advance) while not charging anyone fees. Essentially they represent free points with minimal work. Frequent Miler has a pretty good explanation of the latest entrant into the game, Google Wallet. […]

[…] Google Wallet and GoBank are the hot topics for non-travel points earning (Frequent Miler and Million Mile Secrets). I will let others more adventurous work out the kinks in Google Wallet before I wade in. As for GoBank, the curse of being NYC-based continues to enfold me in numerous ways, why do so many things depend on access to a Wal-Mart? Drat. […]

Unclesam

What finally happened with the $1700 transaction you initiated.

FrequentMiler

Unclesam: The $1700 transaction went through (on the same day I posted this). In later tests I found that transactions under $1K seemed to go through instantly.

Kevin

A penny to me would be much appreciated.

sound48

Would someone be willing to send me a penny as well at sound4848@gmail.com? Thank you

watermen
Joe

Could someone send me a penny at annafw57@gmail.com. Thanks a lot

Grant

@Everyone who needs a penny…

I have a few pennies I can give…

http://travelwithgrant.com/2013/05/20/google-wallet-invite/

Yaokai J

Could anyone send me a penny at jiangyaokaijohn at gmail dot com please? Thanks.

Byron

Please send me a penny! I’ll pass on the favor to anyone else that needs it!

Jason

It’s a long shot but, “PICK ME PLEASE.” I have to say I’m your biggest fan. I look forward to your posts every day. Even if you don’t pick me, I hope you have a great day tomorrow and I look forward to your next post. Thanks for all you do!

h

I would greatly appreciate a penny . I have minimum spend to meet bgharishrao01@gmail.com

h

Could someone send me a penny at bgharishrao01@gmail.com

Googler

Ya i jumped the gun should have restrained. But the I have to say the transfer was instant from cc to wallet and within 2 days to bank

FrequentMiler

Googler: Yikes! Thanks for sharing what happened to you. We can guess from your story that making multiple payments to the same person and withdrawing them immediately is something to avoid. Certainly fear of getting your gmail account shut down is good reason to stop using the service altogether (although I think it very unlikely that Google would do that).

Googler

I sent to my wife and she withdraw it immediately. I sent around 3K ( 9XX.00 in single transactions) from different credit cards. Obviously we have same home address. I am also worried about they shutting my gmail account so I am stopping this madness

J

@googler. How much did you send? And to whom?

I think my biggest worry here is, what happens if GW shuts down our accounts? Do we lose the associated gmail account as well?

Because that would raise all kinds of hell in my life.

Googler

I got a similar email
Hello,

We recently noticed that you’re adding then withdrawing lots of funds from your Google Wallet Balance or sending/receiving money in a way that may violate our Terms of Service.

We wanted to offer a friendly reminder that the peer to peer service is intended for Google Wallet customers to send money to other persons, and not to rack up airline miles/rewards points or get cash advances. We view such transactions as misconduct under section 7 of the Google Wallet Terms of Services, and may decline to process such transactions or close your account if we identify in the future that you are using your account (and the no fee promotional period) for these purposes.

Please note that replies to this message are not monitored. If you experience any further issues with your Google Wallet Account, you may visit support.google.com/wallet.

Sincerely,

The Google Wallet Team

mike

although like everyone i think google is a huge innovator, i have to say that they just CANNOT get product launches right ever! engineer-in-a-box mentality. remember first nexus phone? same with this new wallet feature. MANY people- including me- are getting caught in the identity verification hell. calls are to people who are nice, but just cannot solve the issues and transfer you back and forth for one hour. if you do not use your name on your gmail- and how many people do not want google to have their name and all sorts of personal info-then cc verification does not match. that’s just one example. the product roll-out is terrible- and as always, for a product that could be great (like Nexus was). they just do not know how to roll something out glitch-free, or even mostly glitch-free. have 8 friends in identity hell as well. it’s pretty much a mess unless each dot and initial and period matches perfectly–so, so stupid. customer support non-existent. and this even if you have already been using google wallet for 2-3 years, so there really should be no issues at all! sadly, google just sucks at new product introductions.

FrequentMiler

So far, so good with my account. I plan to invite about 5 people per day until I either get through my list or Google opens this up to everyone.

Reminder: I am not taking any more requests for a penny (nor will I accept bribes!)

roopa

penny to donate $10

Mike

I would greatly appreciate a penny.
Thank you!

Blue Skye

nevermind re: sending money out of the US. set up my account and read limitations. it is US only.

that aside, thanks for posting about this new (new to me) Google feature.

Blue Skye

haven’t tried/set this up yet. questions: does anyone know if Google Wallet allows funds to be sent internationally? is there a way to send money in different currencies? ie: send someone GBP instead of USD (paypal allows this but charges fees even when using a foreign transaction free card)

sat

I am running short of penny for my flight ticket….

Mastermind

Can someone please send me a penny?

oguz100@gmail.com

Thanks

Marc

someone please send me a penny: tabascov@gmail.com

I’ll then re-post and send to others! pay it forward!

A Weev

I am sure you have massive amounts of requests, sorry to be annoying, but if you get a chance please add me. I follow your posts and am a frequent traveler. Thanks bud

DBest

Dunno if I would be in such a rush to link my gmail with my real identity, there are other ways to manufacture spend. But hey what do i know, I’m still amazed that folks use their real names on Facebook.

Seth

Please pick me!

Thanks

goals^n^dreams

pick me!

Is anyone send me 1 cent for my google please! I really need it so much! my email is chuvuong1112@gmail.com
Thank you so much!

Bhavin

Pick me!

Elliot

Do we have any idea what the story is with taxation of money sent using google wallet? AP doesn’t tax for less than $20,000/200 transactions so not a problem; I didn’t see anything specific about this re: google wallet.

HikerT

My button is still active. The keystone mods closed the thread at FT, but doesn’t sound good at DDF:

http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=10229.75

Hopefully just a glitch.

Jason

Someone sent me $.01 and I had the ability to send money this morning. Now, it’s as if this never happened, as the “Send Money” button no longer appears.

Has anyone else encountered this issue?

Elena

I have a few to spare. Send me y’alls email giddyforpoints@gmail.com

Penn

In for one! (cent that is, please)

MK

pick me

al

@fm: I verified my identity before I received the cent. I had bought a Tivo in 2006 and apparently already had a google wallet account, and that’s why I verified identity beforehand. I hope it unfreezes once i verify my bank account.

FrequentMiler

al: That’s scary! My account still seems fine. Did you verify your identity when you received the 1 cent?

al

@fm, this is the message: “Your Wallet account is currently suspended and you cannot send money at this time.”

al

@frequent miler: i have no idea. i didn’t even do any transactions. I just received a 1 cent token so that I could start using the account. I tried sending 1 cent to my wife and I wasn’t able to..

JoshJ

Al, I just got the same message. I just tried to send a $2K transaction, it failed yesterday, now it’s suspended. The problem is, I can’t get in my gmail account either. I would refer people if my account wasn’t suspended. I’ve only referred about 3 people before I got suspended.

FrequentMiler

al: your account was suspended? What caused that? Can you share the full message with us?

al

i got the “my account is suspended” message. Do I have to wait until the bank account is verified before I send any money?

Jeffrey

looking to be picked as well and test this out. Send a penny my way. Thanks,

DFW

HikerT, too late for that now. A certain bow-tie love is getting his circles and arrows ready.

Connor

@Hiker — ahhh, yes. I’m waiting patiently for someone, anyone, to bring me into the fold 🙂

Justin

I’ll send $5 for a penny too!

HikerT

Connor, I’m not just talking about CC scrutiny but rather GW scrutiny. If you plan to do any manufactured spend with GW it won’t necessarily look good to have sent 20 payments of 1 cent to people who are manufacturing spend. The point here is to not make anything too obvious.

FrequentMiler

All: I’m not accepting anymore “pick me” requests here or via email. Sorry. I have too long of a list to go through already and I only plan to do a few a day.

Connor

One other way to avoid the many many 0.01 credit card charges would be to fund your GW from a checking account for a buck or so, then send directly from there. That’s what I plan to do, as soon as I get set up and receive my first penny (hint, hint…)

Grant

@HikerT, I’m sure you are right. I need to slow down with the invites. Already have 10 $0.01 charges on my CSP card…

[…] Google Wallet Invite? 9 Replies A BIG thank you to Greg (Frequent Miler) for allowing me to help with his post Google challenges PayPal, Amazon Payments, and others with innovative new version of Google Wallet. […]

HikerT

I suspect a good way to get your account scrutinized is send lots of $0.01 payments. FWIW, the email from google is real. The friend who referred me got the exact same email and would have no reason to lie to me. He hadn’t sent much either. I’m sure we’ll be seeing many more reports now…

Grant

@FM, thank you for the approval.

@Everyone, if you want a penny via Google Wallet, leave a comment on this post: http://travelwithgrant.com/2013/05/20/google-wallet-invite/

Miles

Dang, I just saw post #7…no more pick-me requests 🙁

Bob

I am willing to send over $5 for an invite.

Miles

Please send me a penny. More would be OK also, up to the stated maximum from Google 🙂

Eric N

Speak of the devil, my $3k transaction just cleared right now.

jason

I would love to get in on this. I will send to others in return

Greg

Does someone who was ‘picked’ want to volunteer to be a next stage of seeding?

Ron Miller

Pick me and this time I used a Google email. Coffee has not quite worked its magic.

Gabriel

PICK ME!!!

btw, how do i know that i don’t already have the features? i guess if i can’t find them, i don’t?

Eric N

@DFW, not the OP from flyertalk but I am one of the members on the first page of that thread. I was just the first one to tip off FM :). I’m not going to lie though, when i was watching Google I/O about the new wallet features… I immediately thought of Manufactured spending =_=…

glu800

This is going to die a very quick death 🙁

DFW

doh nm the question about email address! but question about the FT thread stands 🙂

karen

Please send me a penny when you have time.

DFW

So Eric N, since you got the credit to “discover” this, are you the OP in the FT thread? How come you are able to post with an email address?

Eric N

Btw, datapoint; I made a 3k transaction and it was coded as

Business Services – Internet Services

via Amex. I wonder if this works with the Bold cards… Might not even have to go to OD/OM anymore for the prepaid middleman

Eric N

Glad to see the post 🙂

Rama

Please pick me. I am willing to pick 10people for someone picking me

Grant

@DavidAl, @Mike, @Tim, @Yigal, send me an email and I will send you a penny.

Tim

Any chance we can start a conga line for these invites?

DavidAL

The email you quoted is exactly the same as one I’ve received.

Grant

@FM, if u need help with invites, let me know.

FrequentMiler

Grant: Thanks for the offer! If you’d like to setup a page on your blog for people to request invites, you can feel free to post a link here.

DFW

Thanks for the clarification FM.

Well at least you provided good fodder for tomorrow’s Arrows and Bow Tie post.

Bundy

Do giftcards work? I want to empty out my GCs..

Steve

huh. took two hours. It’s working now. nevermind

Grant

@Steve, a friend of mine works at google and sent me a penny to join google wallet. It takes 1-2 hours for the send money feature to be activated.

Steve

FM – I guess I don’t know what the deal is. I still can’t send money. The only thing that’s incomplete in my account is a verified bank account.

Anita

You may already have an account. I do and didn’t know. I clicked on Google Wallet link above to put in my request with Google Wallet. I logged in with my email account. It turns out I had placed an order in 2009 (!) through Google checkout and then got a refund ($1.99), and there was my account.

FrequentMiler

Anita: That’s true that many people probably already have Google Wallet accounts, but that doesn’t mean that they yet have access to the Send Money feature.

trojan

Stupid of you to publicize this after learning from flyertalk and asking for ‘pick me’ posts. FT clearly said they are working on an orderly way to get access.

FrequentMiler

Sorry, but I’m cutting off further “pick me” requests. All requests up to this point will be moved to a private spreadsheet so that I can manage them from there. While I don’t mind giving away the money, I simply don’t have time to do so many!

DFW

Ass tip to Eric N for the tip when once again it is a FlyerTalk thread being ripped off. You are still ahead of everyone but please don’t insult the readers with such shenanigans.

Steve

Do you have to have a verified bank account? I received a penny last night. Verified my identity, and I’m waiting for them to verify my bank account. I still do not have the ability to send money.

FrequentMiler

Steve: No, you can skip the verified bank account step if you don’t need to pull money out.
DFW: I had no idea the FlyerTalk thread existed until Eric N told me about Google Wallet, and then after talking with a friend about it he pointed me to the FlyerTalk thread. It is extremely rare for me to learn about new things from Flyertalk as my first source, but when I do I always give direct credit.
trojan: FlyerTalk is not the center of the universe. Google Wallet is a public service that will be publicized all over the place with or without blogs and FlyerTalk.

Bender

You bit off more than you can chew with this one lol

Borat

Love the blog, disappointed in this post, especially multitude of giveaways. I guess when even you go in this direction, it’s official, that NO blogger will allow anything to evolve organically anymore.

I don’t have the feature yet, but p,ease, don’t pick me.

Steve

Interesting post. I don’t think that email from Google warning about points and miles was real — language seemed too specific.

Picmeup

I believe we can use the visa GCs, but do you think I can pay myself?

FrequentMiler

Picmeup: No, I don’t think you can pay yourself unless you create separate Google Wallet accounts (which is likely to increase the chance of getting shut down!)
Steve: I hope you’re right
Borat: Sorry you’re disappointed with this, but I really don’t understand the disappointment.
Bender: Indeed 🙂