Google is reportedly working on a project called Pony Express (weird!) that will allow Gmail users to receive and pay bills directly from their inbox in the US, without having to switch to an external website, reports Re/code. Apparently, this service is slated to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2015. The service will also be available on Google’ Inbox app.
The report mentions that Google is tying up with third party companies that process billing for telecom service providers, utility services like electricity and insurance companies among others. Users will need to furnish personal details like address and social security number that will be verified by third-party vendors to ascertain their identity. Users are also likely to have to provide credit card or telephone service account number to use the bill payment service. Post authentication, bills will automatically be consolidated in a separate Pony Express folder.
We’ve written to Google seeking a confirmation and further details about the project, and will update once we hear back.
Most telecom, utility and financial services already offer online bill payment services either directly on their websites or through tie-ups with third party services. However, why Pony Express makes sense is that most of us receive bills directly in our mailbox, and the option to pay bills without having to switch to a different platform or app is likely to make the process more streamlined and seem less of a chore.
During the company’s Q4 2014 earnings conference call, Google’s interim chief business officer & special advisor to the CEO Omid Kordestani had mentioned that users can now send money to friends through Gmail using the Google Wallet app and this functionality was recently launched in the UK.
It’s worth noting that last month, Google had inked a deal with Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T that would see its wallet service being pre-installed on all Android phones sold in US by the three carriers. Google had also acquired the mobile payments app Softcard from the three carriers.