I keep my life on Gmail. It is the holder of my important calendar dates, storage of my most important photos, and the chat resource for YouTube cover songs needing immediate attention from my spread out friends.
Gmail is entering into a new space now, too. As a banking consultant, I find myself conflicted about this transition of theirs.
Gmail is entering the bill pay space and it is not doing so quietly. Their new offering, reportedly called Pony Express, is about to be a game changer for online bill pay. You may have already familiarized yourself with Google Wallet, the nicer and bank-centric cousin of the Pony Express. The main difference here is that Google Wallet has enabled you to shop and pay bills through the hub of your already chosen bank. Pony Express says “Nay (pun intended!) Why leave Gmail if you don’t have to? It’s so cozy here….”
All bills paid through the Pony Express would be made directly from the comfort of your own Gmail inbox- no need to navigate to a bank or creditor third party site. According to American Banker’s quoted payment consultant Richard Crone, “Google is also capitalizing on a sense of complacency banks and billers have in their bill payment offerings; in a survey of 100 billers, fewer than 10 had even minimal support for mobile bill payment and presentment.”
This brings me back to my original point- Pony Express has just become a game changer for the bill pay industry. Gmail also happens to be housed in the compliance- lite tech industry, which gives it a nimble and adaptable quality not able to be enjoyed by financial institutions currently. If Google is able to successfully introduce the Pony Express, there will be an entirely new level of product and market analysis and landscape of the financial institution.
This entire endeavor makes me wonder if Google is making a power play for something even bigger- the largest consumer financial institution this generation has ever seen? It has the scale and innovation, but certainly poses some concerns. My main concern remains: “Do I really want my most pertinent financial information in the same inbox that I receive ‘If You Love America’ forwarded emails from my Grandfather?” Not today, Gmail.