Google Wallet Doubles As Mobile Bank

Google has updated its Android Wallet app, allowing consumers to send money, store loyalty cards, save money through offers, and view commerce activities related to the application. The new features also tie together the company's other properties, providing a clearer view to serve more relevant ads and offers.

The update, announced Tuesday, enables anyone in the U.S. to send money to anyone with an email address provided they are age 18 or older. The funds are transferred directly from their bank account or Google Wallet Balance for free, but fees apply when using linked credit or debit cards.

In May, Google introduced the ability to transfer money in Gmail using Google Wallet.

The mobile app allows consumers to join new loyalty programs from brands like Alaska Airlines, Belly and Red Mango. These merchants let consumers view their loyalty status and rewards point balance. The Wallet app ties in with Google's intelligent automated personal assistant, Google Now, to notify users when they have a saved loyalty program nearby.

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Avis Car Rental, BJ's Restaurants, Cosi, Hard Rock International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International, Raley's and The Body Shop will soon join the service.

Wallet also now ties into Google Offers, following integrations into other Google properties like Maps and Google+, as the company continues to link together the back-end infrastructure. The integration will give Google a complete view of consumers, likes and dislikes, to serve more relevant ads.

Wallet users can store their offers in the app, redeem them at checkout and later this week, they will be able to save other sorts of offers through a new partnership between Google and coupon sites like Valpak. Consumers need only show the offer on their mobile app at checkout to redeem it.

Meanwhile, Koupon Media said it has integrated its Digital Campaign Management platform with Google Wallet, enabling brands and retailers to create, deploy, and measure coupons and offers in Google Wallet, as well as mobile applications, SMS, Facebook, Twitter, email, and more.

The news follows Google's announcement late Monday. The company said it acquired Bump Technologies, the mobile app that lets two people bump their phones together to exchange information. For now, the app will work as it has in the past, but no doubt Google will integrate the technology into future phones and services, especially Google Wallet and Google Offers to transfer funds or coupons with a bump of a phone.

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