Pay bills directly inside email with Google project - Pony Express

Published: Wed, 25 Mar 2015 by Rad

Google is currently working on a project that will allow Gmail users to more easily receive bills in their email inbox instead of their mailbox. Called Pony Express, the service also is designed to let people pay their bills within Gmail, rather than having to go to a telecom or utility company's website to complete a payment.

Pay your bills with few taps

As bills come in that are a part of the Pony Express program, you will be able to pay them with a couple of taps that activate pop-ups which include bill amounts due, payment method, and when you would like to pay.

Other features of Pony Express could include the option to attach a bank account for payments, quick access to customer service info for the company whose bill you are about to pay, and the ability to take a photo of a paper bill to have it archived in Pony Express.

Available in Q4, 2015

The new service is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter, according to the document. It's not clear whether Pony Express is a code name or one that'll be used if it comes to market. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

With Pony Express, Google could suck in the type of financial data that would allow it to expand into new businesses. Credit card bills and payment history would be a gateway into industries such as personal finance or lending. And the data could be used to refine how advertisements are targeted to individuals on Google, YouTube and partnering sites, though such a move would likely stoke privacy concerns.

"It's not clear whether Google would generate any revenue directly from the Pony Express service."

Return of Google Wallet?

To use Pony Express, users will need to provide personal information including a full social security number, though this data and identify verification will be handled by a third party rather than Google itself.

Once that's done, bills can be paid right within Gmail or Inbox, the company's other email app that puts a greater focus on organization and surfacing messages that are timely or important.

Bills can be paid with a credit or debit card, based on the images, but you can also link Pony Express directly to a bank account. Google Wallet doesn't allow for this at present, so either Google will handle billing for the new service separately, or it will soon expand Wallet's capabilities to support bank account linking.

What is Google Wallet

Google Wallet is a free digital wallet that securely stores your credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards, offers, and more. With Google Wallet, you can shop in stores, buy online, and send money.

You can also purchase in stores using the Google Wallet Card or NFC tap and pay if you have an NFC-enabled Android device. You can send or request money to anyone in the U.S. with an email account through Gmail or the Google Wallet app. In addition, you can track your online purchases, get shipping notifications, and view detailed order history.

Google Wallet predecessor was called Google Checkout which became available in the United States on June 28, 2006. It was aimed at simplifying the process of paying for online purchases. Users would store their credit or debit card and shipping information in their Google Account, so that they could purchase at participating stores by clicking an on-screen button. Google Checkout provided fraud protection and a unified page for tracking purchases and their status. Google Checkout was discontinued on November 20, 2013.

Pony Express empowers you forward payment to other people

Aside from paying a full bill yourself, Pony Express will also allow Gmail users to forward bills onto other people (roommates, spouses, etc.) to split up the full balance. This process can be automated.

Other tech giants payments systems

It's no secret that Google, among other tech-giants, wants to become a major financial player in the new connected economy. Along with Google Wallet and its upcoming Android Pay API layer there are other players working hard on payments systems and wallets.

Apple pay

Apple has its own mobile payment system named Apple Payt.

Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service by Apple Inc. that lets users make payments using the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch-compatible devices (iPhone 5 and later models), iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini 3.

Apple Pay does not require Apple-specific contactless payment terminals and will work with Visa's PayWave, MasterCard's PayPass, and American Express's ExpressPay terminals.The service has begun initially only for use in the US, with international roll-out planned for the future.

Samsung Pay

Samsung's mobile payment system is compatible with more tills than Apple's alternative. Samsung Pay mobile payments system is going to arrive on its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones.

Samsung Pay uses wireless technology embedded inside Samsung's newest smartphones to interact with tills when you buy things from shops. Once you've added a payment card to your smartphone, you'll be able to pay for things by tapping your phone against the till, authenticating the transaction using the phone's fingerprint scanner.

Samsung Pay differs from Apple's tech in one significant way, however. Apple Pay uses a system called near-field communication (NFC) to make those wireless transactions. Samsung, however, has two technologies on the go at the same time. One is NFC, and the other is MST, which stands for magnetic secure transmission.

Coin - startup behind a smart electronic device

Coin is a secure, connected device that can hold and behave like the cards you already carry. Coin works with your debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards. Instead of carrying several cards, you carry one Coin. Multiple accounts and information - all in one place.

Coin is priced at $100 plus applicable taxes and shipping.

Coin device


The Coin device is deceptively simple. It's roughly the same height, weight and girth of a typical credit card. But that's where the similarities end. A tiny screen occupies the top right corner of its face, with a button below. Press the button, and the screen comes to life, displaying the name of a credit card, the last four digits and its expiration date.

Wocket - smart wallet

Wocket is the world's first, Smart Wallet. Wocket turns up to 10,000 cards into just one WocketCard and the best part is, Wocket uses biometric voice security to keep all your information protected.

Wocket protects all of your private information inside an electronic vault while reducing the number of cards in your wallet. Biometric and patent pending technologies make Wocket the smartest wallet on the market.

Plastc - secure single card wallet

How much technology can you fit into a 0.8-millimeter-thick credit card?

It syncs with your phone using Bluetooth. It lets you swipe between 20 cards or barcodes using an E-ink touchscreen, and offers NFC (like the iPhone 6) for contactless transactions, an EMV "chip" for the latest card readers, and RFID so you can replace your office building's ID card. Even if you don't know all the acronyms by heart, Plastc already sounds impressive.

Plastc's powerful technology protects your information, so you can pay with confidence. The magnetic stripe and NFC chip are disabled until you select your card, preventing any fraudulent activity. Your Plastc Card also comes with a secure card PIN, photo ID, proximity alerts, and Return Me mode.

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