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New Google Pay app update offers more ways to pay, save and get insights into your money

Google launched a redesigned Google Pay app that can help you seamlessly manage your money, and announced details on the mobile-first Plex Account coming in 2021.


If you’re looking for a convenient and secure way to manage your finances, you should check out the redesigned Google Pay app that’s centered around your relationships with people and businesses. 

The new app can help you seamlessly complete daily financial tasks — whether it's requesting money from a friend, checking how much you spent on groceries last month or activating offers at popular brands.

“If you want one app to make it easy to pay, save and manage your money, this is the app to get,” Josh Woodward, Director of Product Management at Google, tells CNBC Select.

Google is launching the redesigned Google Pay app in the U.S. on Android and iOS devices today, Nov. 18, and expanding to new markets over time.

In addition to a new app, Google will be introducing a new way for consumers to bank in 2021 through Plex Accounts that will have both checking and savings features.

CNBC Select has the scoop on the updates to the Google Pay app and new Plex Accounts.

Google Pay app updates

Over 150 million users across 30 countries already use Google Pay to make contactless payments, complete in-app or online payments and request money from family and friends. Through the redesigned app, Google aims to further its mission to make money simple, secure and helpful.

To sum up the new changes, Venkat Rapaka, VP of Product Management at Google, tells CNBC Select that the current version of Google Pay is primarily built on making credit card payments, while the new version combines payments and insights to give users a holistic picture of their finances, which is displayed through a newly designed user experience.

Here’s an overview of each tab — Pay, Explore and Insights — within the new Google Pay app.

Google Pay 3 tabs

Pay (home tab)

When you open the Google Pay app, you’ll be brought to the Pay tab, which doubles as the home tab. From here, you can pay, see past transactions and find offers and loyalty info.

You can send and receive money from one person or multiple people with the new groups functionality that makes splitting bills easier. The businesses section allows you to view loyalty cards from retailers like Costco and see spending and credits.

The Pay tab also allows you to order food at over 100,000 restaurants, buy gas at over 30,000 gas stations and pay for parking in over 400 cities, all without ever leaving the Google Pay app. More simple ways to pay for everyday things from within the app are coming soon.

Explore (left tab)

The Explore tab lets you save money and redeem offers directly within the Google Pay app without the need to clip physical coupons or search for promo codes online. Instead, you can load offers from brands like Burger King, Etsy, REI Co-op, Sweetgreen, Target and Warby Parker to your Google Pay account and start saving.

Once you activate an offer, you can automatically redeem the deal when you pay in-store or online with your Google Pay account or linked card.

You can also scan product barcodes and QR codes through Google lens technology, allowing you to get more information, such as how much it costs.

Google Pay Insights

Insights (right tab)

When you link your bank accounts and credit cards (which is optional and off by default), you can receive insights into how much money you have and how much you’ve spent.

Google Pay can also automatically organize your spending and let you search transactions broadly, such as looking for “food,” or specifically, like searching “Mexican restaurants.” There’s also the option to search your receipts (after opt-in) and receive alerts for upcoming subscription bills.

The Insights tab also displays your Google Pay balance.

Google Pay security features

When you use Google Pay, you’ll receive protection through advanced security features. For example, when you're paying someone who isn't in your contacts the Google Pay app will alert you to double check the person's details before completing payment so you pay the right person.

Google Pay also provides transparency around the data you can control and lets you choose the privacy settings that are right for you — whether that’s opting in or out of sharing transaction history and receipt images that can personalize your Google Pay experience. Both of these settings are off by default, but you can change them at any time.

Google Pay will never sell your data to third parties or share your transaction history with the rest of Google for targeting ads.

Google introduces a new way to bank in 2021 with Plex Accounts

Plex is a mobile-first bank account that will be offered by a variety of banks and credit unions in 2021 and integrated directly into Google Pay.

You can expect Plex Accounts to include checking and savings capabilities, $0 monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements, plus ways to help you set savings goals.

While Plex Accounts aren’t available yet, you can join the waitlist within the Google Pay app to be one of the first to apply for a Plex Account from Citi or Stanford Federal Credit Union (SFCU) sometime in the new year.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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