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


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.


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.


Here are the details from the Google Wallet Help pages:


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:


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


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:


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:


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!

0 0 votes
Post Rating
Want to learn more about miles and points? Subscribe to email updates or check out our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] 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. […]


Hi, can someone send me a penny please? I’d like to start using this feature.


Hi! I’d love to start using this, could someone send me a penny as well?



Can someone send me a penny, please.


Toni: They started charging for credit card payments after I published this. See this update:


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.” […]


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. […]


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:


@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.


This blog is giving out invites:


Please send a penny!


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 […]


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.


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.


Could someone pleeeese send me a penny at 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 […]


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.


Could someone lend me a penny


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. […]


What finally happened with the $1700 transaction you initiated.


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.


A penny to me would be much appreciated.


Would someone be willing to send me a penny as well at Thank you


Could someone send me a penny at Thanks a lot


@Everyone who needs a penny…

I have a few pennies I can give…

Yaokai J

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


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


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!


I would greatly appreciate a penny . I have minimum spend to meet


Could someone send me a penny at


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


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).


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


@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.


I got a similar email

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


The Google Wallet Team


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.


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!)


penny to donate $10


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)


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


Can someone please send me a penny?



someone please send me a penny:

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


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.


Please pick me!



pick me!

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


Pick me!


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.


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

Hopefully just a glitch.


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?


I have a few to spare. Send me y’alls email


In for one! (cent that is, please)


pick me


@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.


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


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


@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..


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.


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


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


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


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


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


I’ll send $5 for a penny too!


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.


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.


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…)


@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. […]


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…


@FM, thank you for the approval.

@Everyone, if you want a penny via Google Wallet, leave a comment on this post:


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


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


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.


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


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.



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 =_=…


This is going to die a very quick death 🙁


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


Please send me a penny when you have time.


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 🙂


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


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


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


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


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


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.


Thanks for the clarification FM.

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


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


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


@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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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 🙂