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Google’s New Money Transfer for Gmail Socks PayPal in the Stocks

March 17, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

For a long time, peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer was the chronically-ignored red-headed stepchild, so to speak, of the mobile payments world. Only a handful of tools even tried it, and many who did try didn’t make much fanfare about it. Recently, though, Google stepped up to deliver a powerful new option in the field, and that was enough to send PayPal stock reeling as a result.

Basically, all it took to prompt a 1.5 percent loss in PayPal stock recently was an announcement from Google that said users would essentially be able to send money like email via a Gmail interface. The service is offered without fees, reports note, and the service can actually work with other email services, so it doesn’t need to be between two Gmail users to work. Recipients can even automatically establish that the money in question goes directly to a bank account, though users will have to set up a Google Wallet account to receive—or send—cash.

Right now the current leader in P2P cash is Venmo, a PayPal property that had its share of rocky starts, but has recently become the big name in moving cash between individuals. Venmo has one critical edge that Google’s new service doesn’t seem to offer, reports note, and that’s the social edge. Venmo allows users to show off what was sent and the memo space, which often included images like eggplant, one of the most popular such images.

While certainly, a mobile P2P payment system could be a real winner, it’s worth pointing out that Google’s version would lack one of the biggest draws Venmo can offer. That’s not exactly going to be a huge endorsement for breaking users out of established patterns and into new product lines. Google’s going to need something that’s a little more of a draw than “Hey, It’s Google.” to get the users into the fold.

Google’s new entrant doesn’t seem like a real eye-opener when it comes to mobile payments, but it’s still fairly early yet. Google could add that bit of edge later that will make this a champ, or it could just let it sit to pick up what business it can. Either way, that’s a little more for Google, and a little more reason for PayPal to worry.