On November 18, 2020, Google introduced us to the new Google Pay app. This time the app features a big focus on your spending habits and keeping track of the people and businesses you’re having transactions with.

For example, if you’re splitting the bill with friends at dinner or managing the bills at home with roommates, Google Pay provides a way to track these payments, create groups, and even send messages. That’s right, Google now has yet another new messenger, sorry no support for gifs here though.

Beyond that, Google Pay also makes it easy to order food, buy gas, or even pay for parking from within the app. At this time, there is support for over 100,000 restaurants, over 30,000 gas stations, and you can pay for parking in over 400 cities.

There’s also an “Explore” tab which provides a way to view and discover new offers and promotions aimed at helping you save money, all without clipping coupons. To redeem an offer from popular stores such as Target, Burger King, Etsy, and more–tap the promotion, make a purchase, and the discount will be automatically applied at checkout.

Making transactions is only one aspect of the new Google Pay app, it also puts a strong focus on managing your finances. If you connect your credit cards or bank account with the app, it will give you summaries on your spending. Not only that, but in true Google fashion, you’ll be able to search your transactions to stay on top of where your money is going.

General searches for terms like “food” will return purchases from the grocery store and orders from restaurants you’ve placed. You can also use terms such as “last month” or “spending last week” to view all of your most recent transactions.

Finally, starting in 2021, Google Pay will be dipping its toes into mobile banking by partnering with 11 banks and credit unions. The new venture is named Plex, and it offers “mobile-first bank account integration into Google Pay.”

Essentially, you’ll be able to sign up for a checking or savings account with “no monthly fees, overdraft charges, or minimum balance requirements” within Google Pay from institutions like Citi or SFCU.

While Plex won’t go live until 2021, you can still join the waitlist in the meantime. Although we still find Plex to be a bit of an odd name choice, considering the popular media management software app that goes by the same name.

Before you jump in and start adding all your cards and bank accounts to Google Pay, I’m sure you want to make sure it’s secure. To that end, Google states the app is “built with multiple layers of security to keep your money and information private and safe.”

On top of that, Google Pay has features built-in to warn you when you’re sending money to a stranger and offers a range of privacy settings. Furthermore, “Google Pay will never sell your data to third parties or share your transaction history with the rest of Google for targeting ads.”

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