Probably most of your financial apps on your smartphone will give you a list of your latest transactions, payments, bills to pay, etc. But Google believes in a different kind of interface for its Google Pay app. They’re launching a redesign of the app starting in the U.S. and this time, it revolves more on relationships with people as well as with businesses, with an emphasis on personal finance management. They also announced an upcoming new digital bank account that you can connect with Google Pay through trusted financial institutions.
When you open your updated Google Pay app, you’ll see a list of friends, groups, and businesses/brands that you interact with instead of a list of cards and transactions. The interface is organized around conversations. You can keep track of group expenses like splitting bills, gifts, and it will take note of who has paid or not. You will be able to use Google Pay to order and pay at more than 100,000 restaurants, buy gas at more than 30,000 gas stations, and pay for parking in 400 cities.
There is also a tab for Insights which will give you an analysis on your spending to give you a more holistic view of your finances. It will only reflect though if you choose to connect your bank account and cards to Google Pay. The search function of the app has also been updated so you can use keywords like “food”, “last month” to look at the relevant transactions. You can choose to use your transaction history to personalize your app experience but that is turned off by default so you have to turn it on yourself.
The other tab in the interface is for various digital coupons and rewards that you can get from various businesses and brands. At launch, they will have offers from Burger King, Etsy, REI Co-op, Sweetgreen, Target, Warby Parker, etc. No need to input promo codes as they can be automatically applied when you use Google Pay for your purchases whether in-store or online. The updated Google Pay app will initially be available in the U.S for now.
Google Pay also announced a new way to do digital banking is coming in 2021. Plex is a mobile-first bank account that will be integrated into Google Pay. It is an account that will be offered by several banks and credit unions, with 11 financial institutions at launch. You can now apply for an account from Citi and SFCU or be waitlisted for the app. No specific timeline has been announced for Plex but we’ll keep an eye on it and let you know soon.