Need to Know
- Grocery savings, expanded transit ticket-buying options, and spend tracking have been added to Google Pay.
- The new grocery savings option is in partnership with Safeway and Target in the US.
- Transit options will expand to Chicago and San Fransisco, while a partnership with Token Transit will allow Google to bring mobile ticketing to smaller US communities.
Google Pay launched a number of new features this week, aimed at helping users better track and save their money.
On April 29, Google announced it had partnered with Safeway and Target in the US to bring allow Google Pay users to find grocery deals directly within the app. To find these deals, Google Pay users can simply search for Safeway or Target in the Google Pay app, and tap “View Weekly Deals.” Turning on location in Google Pay will soon allow the app to notify users about weekly deals at nearby Safeway and Target stores.
Google has also expanded its transit capabilities. Currently, Google Pay supports the purchase and use of transit tickets in more than 80 US cities; on Thursday, Google announced it would soon be adding Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area.
In addition, Google Pay users on Android will soon be able to access transit tickets from the app’s home screen, by tapping the “Ride transit” shortcut. This will allow users to purchase or add a transit card, on which they can then top up their balance to pay their fare. Once transit cards are purchased, users can simply hold their phones up to a transit card reader, without the need to unlock them. In cities without card readers, a visual ticket can be displayed to a transit operator.
In addition, Google is partnering with Token Transit to bring mobile transit ticketing to smaller municipalities in the US.
Finally, Google has added money management tools to Google Pay, which will allow users to view account balances, upcoming bill reminders, and weekly spend summaries, and will send alerts when large purchases are made. Google Pay will also allow users to see their spending by category, simply by using a keyword search, such as “food” or, more granularly, something more specific, such as “burgers.”
“[Google Pay] is full of ways to pay friends and businesses, save with offers and rewards and stay on top of your money,” Google’s director of product management, Josh Woodward, wrote in a blog post announcing the new features. “Today, we are announcing three ways to help you save money on groceries, pay for transit fares in more cities and better understand your spending.”
Google introduced a number of updates to Pay in November 2020, including the addition of budget tracking, coupons, and money transfers, which positioned the app as a one-stop financial hub well-primed to compete with digital-only banks. The updates at the time also included bill splitting, the ability to view loyalty cards from brands such as Costco, and tools allowing users to order food and pay for gas without ever leaving the app.
In December, Google Pay partnered with Rakuten, the cash-back site, to offer cashback rewards to Google Pay users who shop with Rakuten’s In-Store Network of participating retailers, which include H&M, Adidas, and Gap.