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Google one-ups Venmo, lets you send cash via Google Assistant

Starting today, you can send cash to friends using voice commands in Google Assistant. But will that draw people away from Venmo?
By
March 22, 2018
TL;DR
  • Starting today, you can send or request money from contacts using voice commands in Google Assistant.
  • The money is processed through Google Pay, so you’ll need to set up your account there before sending or receiving money.
  • We haven’t been able to get the service working yet, so there are still some questions on how the process works in real-world situations.

There’s no question that Venmo is the app-of-choice for Millennials when it comes to giving or receiving cash. Google’s new Google Pay app (formerly Android Pay, which was combined with Google Wallet) probably won’t draw the younger crowd away from Venmo on its own, but this new Google Assistant voice command feature might turn some heads.

Starting today, you can send or request money from your contacts using your voice. You can ask Assistant to “send $5 to John Doe for concert tickets,” and the virtual assistant will send the money via Google Pay with a little note that says “For concert tickets.” We first heard about this feature almost a year ago, so it’s been a long time coming.

Right now, the service only works on your Android or iOS smartphone. Google Home hardware like the Google Home Mini will be supported “in the coming months,” according to Google.

google assistant cash gif

If you haven’t yet signed up for Google Pay, the first time you try to send or request funds you’ll be prompted to set up an account and link a bank account or credit card. Google makes it clear that transferring money is free; however, that most likely only applies to transactions using a bank account, as most transfers in apps like Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, etc., charge a small fee for the use of credit cards.

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If you’re sending money to someone who doesn’t have Google Pay, that’s no big deal: the recipient will receive an email or text message with a link for how they can obtain the funds. However, Google does not make it clear whether or not the recipient will have to sign up for Google Pay to get the money, or if they will be able to go through some other process.

For what it’s worth, I tried to use Google Assistant to send money to a friend and the service didn’t work. Instead, Assistant interpreted my request as me wanting to send a text message, not send cash. So even though Google says this is available today, your mileage may vary.

As soon as we can get the service working, we’ll give you a better idea of what sending and receiving funds is like with different variables taken into account. In the meantime, do some tests of your own and let us know in the comments how things turn out!

NEXT: Google Pay makes a lot of sense