Gmail on Android: Now Google lets you send money as easily as photos

The Gmail app on Android now lets you exchange money with friends from within the app at no charge.

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The feature also lets friends exchange money with people who use non-Gmail addresses.

Image: Google

Google's Wallet-powered money exchange feature from Gmail on the web has come to its Android app.

The feature lets Gmail users send and request money using the same process as attaching photos and other files. After selecting a recipient, the payee simply taps the attachment icon and selects either the "send money" or "request money" options.

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When sending money a pop-up window appears where you type in the amount, hit continue to attach the sum, and then press send. The feature also lets friends exchange money with people who use non-Gmail addresses.

Recipients can receive or request money from the email itself without needing to install another payment app. The recipient can also opt for the money to go direct to their bank account. Google says the service is free.

Google reckons the money exchange feature will be convenient for splitting a dinner bill or planning a trip with friends. The main advantage over other payment apps is that the exchange can be done all from within a Gmail app, where conversations might already be taking place.

The one major limitation over some dedicated financial apps is that the money exchange feature is only available for users in the US.

Google is following Snapchat's lead, which launched its US-only Snapcash in 2014, highlighting a potential benefit in removing the distraction of opening a dedicated payment app and allowing it all to happen within a chat.

Facebook followed suit with its free Messenger money exchange feature in 2015, but again it only reaches a portion of its billion users worldwide by restricting payments to senders and recipients in the US.

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