A New Free Way to Send Money: Through Email

Two years ago, Google promised a service that would let you pay for things with a wave of your phone.

It’s called Google Wallet, and it hasn’t caught on in the way Google hoped. Only about a dozen phone models on Sprint and less popular carriers support it.

Now they’re building onto the service with a simpler idea: emailing money. That would have much greater reach. Google is the world’s most popular email provider, GigaOm says.

The feature was announced this week, and Google says it’s coming soon:

This feature will be rolling out to Gmail users ages 18+ in the U.S. over the next few months. Look for the $ icon in your attachment options. You can also get earlier access if your friends have the feature and send money to you.

There’s no cost to receive money, and no cost to send it if you link your bank account to Google Wallet or use funds already in your Wallet account. Paying with a debit or credit card will incur a 2.9 percent fee or a minimum of 30 cents.

Google has not specified the minimum that can be sent — though a promotional video shows amounts of as little as $30 are possible. A maximum of $10,000 can be transferred per day. If you don’t use Gmail, the Google Wallet smartphone app can also send or receive money. (Your account can also be disabled from any computer if you lose your phone, Google says.)

Funds sent from your Wallet balance or debit/credit cards are available “almost instantaneously,” Google says, but payments through your bank account may take as long as banks usually do. Unclaimed money is returned after two weeks, and the service will initially be available only within the U.S.

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