Google added a big revamp to Wallet on iOS earlier this week, pushing the payments service into the crowded peer-to-peer mobile market. The new Google Wallet app allows users to send money to anyone with an email address, which should make it easier to split bills for food, gas, and other commodities.
New users need to add a debit card or linked bank account to send money. Chrome users who use autofill settings should already have a debit card saved, and those details will be automatically attached once you sign into Google Wallet. Old features like customer loyalty programs and gift cards will be unavailable on the Wallet app after the update.
Google Wallet is set to compete with Facebook Messenger, Snapcash, and PayPal.Me, the three major peer-to-peer services, on iOS. The latter uses a URL link to process payments quickly, while Facebook and Snapchat both use messaging to send payments. Apple Pay currently offers no way to quickly send payments to friends or split the bill at a restaurant, meaning it might miss out on the peer-to-peer goldrush currently underway.
As PayPal revealed, adults are owed $51 billion worldwide in small debts to family and friends, but feel too uncomfortable tracking the person down for a few dollars. These services offer an easy way to message them and ask for the money.
Google’s other payments service, Android Pay, is still unavailable on iOS. Apple appears to be blocking all apps that try and use the NFC chip inside of the iPhone, making it impossible for Android Pay to launch. For iPhone owners wanting to use Google services, Wallet is all you’re going to get until Apple decides to open up its NFC chip to third-party app developers.