Paying your bills might get a whole lot easier if Google’s Pony Express project launches. Rumor has it that the company is working on a new project that would make it easier for users to receive and pay bills through Gmail.
Given the code name Pony Express, the new service is reportedly scheduled to launch during the fourth quarter. No details have emerged on whether or not the new feature will actually be called Pony Express, or if it’s just a code name.
What Exactly is Pony Express?
According to Re/Code, the new service would compile all of your monthly bills and organize them neatly into one folder in your inbox. As of right now, it seems as if this would be done by an independent, third-party service. There’s still no word on whether or not Google will be partnering with any financial institutions or telecoms as of yet.
Payment options would then be linked to your credit or debit cards, so you can pay your bills without ever having to leave your inbox. You can even split a bill with another Gmail user. This is a great feature for roommates who split utilities and other bills.
Other options will be available too, like the option to contact customer service or upload a photo of the physical bill to review later.
Google is apparently working with third-party vendors to mail and print bills for service providers, like telecom, utility and insurance companies.
It’s still unclear whether Google will actually generate any revenue through Pony Express, but the company could use this data to refine their targeted advertisements or venture into other industries, like personal finance or lending. The former may raise privacy concerns, but as far as branching off into finance, it wouldn’t be surprising if Google was headed in that direction.
The Future of Online Payments
Paperless billing isn’t a new concept, but Pony Express is one of the first attempts to bring all of your bills to one central online location for easy payment. Of course, the biggest concerns with this new service are privacy and security. And naturally, Google is already one step ahead. Currently, Pony Express uses a third party to authenticate users and protect personal data.
First, Gmail users will need to provide personal information, like their names, addresses, or partial Social Security number. From there, a third party will vet their identity. In some cases, more information, like a utility account or credit card number will need to be supplied. Once users have been verified, they can receive and pay bills through Gmail.
Despite these measures, there’s still a chance that users won’t trust Google with their online payments. But the company does have one major advantage – they have millions of Gmail users to market this feature to. And for those who already trust the tech giant, the convenience of being able to receive and pay all of their bills in one location may be too good to pass up. It will be interesting to see how many users use Pony Express if it is released to the public.
*Featured Image – Credit Bakhtiar Zein