I want to leave my wallet at home and just carry my smartphone SO BAD. At the very least, I want to only carry my Driver’s License and let my smartphone do the heavy lifting of carrying my medical card, credit cards, and even loyalty/gift cards.
Looks like Google Wallet is making my wish [almost] a reality. The recently updated iOS and Android app (Sorry Windows Phone) now lets users add and redeem gift cards right from the app.
To add physical gift cards, you simply snap a picture of the gift card and manually enter the card information (number, ccv code, and expiration date). You can even add eGift cards received via email directly to Google Wallet (Participating merchants only).
To redeem, just show your virtual card to the cashier and they may just be able to scan the card from your phone. At the very least, they will have to manually enter the card information (poor cashiers that may have to do actual work).
As an added bonus, certain gift cards will let you check the remaining balance in real-time right from Google Wallet – No more calling the number on the back of card or squinting at a web site on your phone to check the gift card balance. Near a store? You can opt to get a little reminder that you have a gift card for the store on your phone, to give you that little nudge to go in and spend that free money (and probably spend a little more).
Skynet Google already has all of your information, why not let it consolidate it all conveniently on your smartphone? Personally, I’m waiting on the day when my smartphone becomes my everything, good or bad.
FYI, No I do NOT get tired of that same ‘ol SkyNet joke. [Soon…]
What say you – Would you prefer to have all your information including financial stuff (securely) on your smartphone, or would you prefer to keep it separate, so you can just lose your wallet/purse with all your information the old school way?
I don’t carry cash. Normally I don’t run into trouble without cash with the only exception being when I go out to eat with others. It seems as if I’m the odd man out because everybody else has cash. In those situations, I usually either take all the cash from my friends and put the entire bill on my card, or we all circle who’s paying what on the bill and let the waiter figure it out.
It’s those times where the new Cash by Square app will work the best for me. If you’re not familiar, Cash by Square will let anyone send money via email – No extra fees or no Square account needed. All you have to do is link your debit card and any money you send via the app will show up in the recipient’s account in approximately two days. The recipient will need to link their debit account to recieve the money.
The app simply populates all the email fields with the correct information to ensure everything goes smoothly, but the entire transaction is done via email.
1. Enter the email address you linked to Square in the “from” field
2. Enter the email address you want to send money to
3. Add “Cash@Square.com” in the CC field
4. Add the amount of money you want to send in the Subject field
5. Add a note to recipient in the body
…Or you can use the free Cash app (for iOS and Android) and it will automagically populate the From, CC, and subject field, you will just have to add a recipient and a note in the body.
Check out my walk-through video of Cash by Square
In other words, if you can send an email, you can send money using Cash by Square. This puts Square squarely (see what I did there) in competition with PayPal, where you can also send money to anyone, but you do need a PayPal account and the PayPal mobile app. With Square, all you need to do is link an email address and debit card, no account or app needed. Oh, and most importantly, not fees.
The service is free to use, I’m assuming Square sees the value in having a ton of email addresses and debit cards…Hopefully they will only use that information as to figure out how to eat at PayPal’s market share.
Let me know what you think? Will you switch from sending money via PayPal to Cash by Square?
I got the chance the answer that question when the folks at GoBank reached out and asked me to check out their service (currently in beta). The ability to replace my traditional “branch” with a virtual service intrigued me, and since I hardly ever physically go to my bank, I agreed to open up an account.
I was using a local bank back up in Maryland for my allowance personal spending account and never switched when we moved to Atlanta over a year ago. So I said “why not” and took some of my money to open up a priority membership GoBank account to try it out.
“Well, we movin’ on up…”
If I haven’t already stated the obvious, GoBank is an online/mobile-only banking service. The concept is not new, as there are several banks that currently offer online-only services. What sets GoBank apart from the others is the feature-packed mobile app for iOS and Android that gives you all the banking functionality you need in the palm of your hand. Other banking mobile apps are merely complimentary to the online or in-person service. GoBank wants the mobile app to be your first, and possibly only form of interaction with the bank and your money.
Let’s clear the air for all you scary So-and-so’s. Money deposited is FDIC insured and GoBank doesn’t gouge customers with overdraft or penalty fees to compensate for the lack of brick an mortal branches. You simply pay a membership fee in whatever amount you feel is fair….For realz – You can elect to pay $1-$9/month. Now, GoBank is a bank, so they do have fees, but nothing out of the ordinary. The most you will pay is $9 for a custom or replacement debit card. You may also cough up $2.50 in the form on an Out-of-network ATM withdrawl fee, in addition to the fee from the ATM operator. Again, not out of the ordinary.
GoBank has partnered with other banks and credit unions to offer free in-network ATM services. I’ll admit, they weren’t on every corner like our everyday, family banking establishment, but I was surprised at the amount of locations available. I would say they had more than most credit unions and there were plenty within five minutes of my house. Honestly, I pretty much use plastic all day anyway – I keep a $50 bill folded up in my wallet in case of an emergency, and any business that doesn’t accept credit/debit really doesn’t want my business anywayz, so the ATM locations really wasn’t an issue for me.
GoBank is a full-service mobile banking service. You can make deposits either by entering another debit card number, or snapping a picture of a check within the app. You can also set up Direct Deposit for your J.O. I will admit, it took contacting GoBank customer support to complete my initial deposit because they are very strict about your mailing address (rightfully so). I live right on the border of two cities. Depending on…whatever, my address could be in either of those cities. GoBank wasn’t feeling the address my regular bank had versus what I was trying to enter, and subsequently shut it all down.
Once I got all that squared away, I deposited a little dough just to play around with the service. They sent me a svelte black Visa debit card for purchases and ATM withdrawls, and I was on my way. Probably the coolest feature is the ability to check your account balance without even logging in. I did a little Vine to show you how easy it was to check my account balance.
GoBank has some nice money management features as well. There is a “Money Vault” feature where you can add money to the vault and thus, hide it from your overall balance. GoBank also lets you set reminders for upcoming deposits and bills so you can build an actual budget based on what’s coming in and what’s going out. By tracking all your income and expenses, you can use the “Fortune Teller” feature to view the actual status of your account before you make a questionable purchase.
GoBank quickly lets you send money to friends and family by entering the amount, the recipient’s contact information (choose between mobile number, email address or name – will search your phone’s contacts, or connect to Facebook and it will send them a private message) and you’re done. GoBank will send them a message with instructions on how to get the money and will email you to notify that the money has been sent. The recipient has 10 days to retrieve the money or will automatically get sent back to your account.
Like I stated earlier, these features you could probably find at another bank in some form or fashion; but, GoBank offers all this functionality from your smartphone. Other bank’s mobile apps, even the big names (rhymes with Rank of America) don’t have nearly the mobile functionality that GoBank has.
Will I transfer ALL my accounts and ALL my money to GoBank? Probably not – You would have to ask Mrs. Tech our family CFO that question. But I can see GoBank working great for late teens, college-age kids, and single folk in their early-to-mid twenties using GoBank exclusively. Since they are the virtual generation, it’s a great tool to manage their finances on the go. I could also see parents creating accounts for their kids as an easy way to montior their older children’s spending without being too helicopter-y. Personally, I feel comfortable continuing to use GoBank solely as my “Blowin’ Money Fast” Fund.
GoBank is still in beta, but is currently trickling out memberships to interested parties. Check them out and let me know what you think – Would you do all your banking online?