Google has expanded the functionality of its mobile payment system.
Late last week, the company announced an update to Google Wallet that will enable users to send money by using just a phone number. With the latest version of the app, funds can be sent directly to a mobile device with a secure link via text message. The recipient can then use the link to enter their debit card information in order to claim the money, which will be available in their selected bank account in minutes, Google said in a blog post.
The Google Wallet app, which will soon be available in Apple’s App Store, has also seen recent updates in the form of security enhancements and visual improvements. The most recent version of the app includes enhanced contact suggestions, which puts the people that money is sent to more often at the top of the list, as well as the ability to lock the Google Wallet with the tap of a button. Users will also be able to link a second bank account to the contactless payment system.
Earlier this year, Google took the necessary steps to make its mobile payments service FDIC-insured — giving its users a safer way to store their money.
While the FDIC insures banking funds up to $250,000, when it comes to money being stored in mobile wallets, it’s a bit less secure because of how they are categorized under financial regulations. Similar to prepaid debit cards, funds on most mobile wallet services aren’t federally insured.
While Google Wallet or other mobile wallet services aren’t typically a place for consumers to store money, as they are primarily used for P2P transfers or payments, Google Wallet does allow its users to keep funds in the digital wallet via its Wallet Balance service. But the security of that service, Google says, is about to change, according to a Yahoo report in April.