Google Wallet Update

Last week I introduced Google Wallet in the post “Google challenges PayPal, Amazon Payments, and others with innovative new version of Google Wallet.”  Google Wallet is a new way to send money to friends and relatives over the internet.  Unlike other similar services, Google Wallet even lets you send money right from within Gmail.  If you want to know more about Google Wallet and why I’m excited about it, I highly recommend that you read the aforementioned post.

Getting Google Wallet

It’s easy to sign up for Google Wallet (it’s free).  The tricky part is getting your account upgraded to the new version that includes the Send Money feature.  Theoretically this capability will eventually roll out to everyone, but for now the only known way to get the feature is for someone who already has the feature to send you money.  Here are a couple of public options:

  1. Leave a comment for The Wandering Aramean here; or
  2. Join the conga line at Dan’s Deals here.

A bug

When I first wrote about Google Wallet I offered to send people a penny each if they commented in my post, but I cut it off once I had an unmanageably long list of requesters.  I moved the list into Excel and have been slogging my way through the list sending each person a penny from my Google Wallet balance.  Through this process, though, I discovered something disturbing.  Many people seemed to have requested pennies more than once, but with different email addresses.  What was the point of that?  Did people really think they would get a significant amount of money this way?  Were they just trying to sabotage my efforts to spread the Google wealth?  At first I got angry about this, but later it occurred to me that there was a bug in the system.  People weren’t trying to scam me.  Here is what was happening:

I would put in an email address that Google Wallet could identify, and then Google Wallet would resolve the email address to a name like this:

image

Then, I would go to the next person on the list and enter their email address.  If Google Wallet didn’t know who the second email address belonged to it would incorrectly attribute the email address to the previous person I had addressed, like this:

image

See above how Google Wallet erroneously attributed the new email address to “Frequent Miler”?  Anyway, once I figured out that this was just a bug and not people out to scam me I went ahead and sent pennies to those who I previously thought ill of (sorry about that!).

What have we learned?

Over on FlyerTalk in this thread, people have been reporting their experiences with Google Wallet. Here is what I’ve gathered from a read-through:

  • You can use Visa/MasterCard/Amex gift cards as the source of funds for sending money.  Google Wallet does put a temporary $1 hold on the card so either send $1 less than the total on the card or wait for the hold to come off (one person reported that the hold disappeared in only an hour).
  • You can link your Bluebird account and withdraw money from Google Wallet to Bluebird.  I’m not sure why you would want to do this, but you can (Bluebird allows ACH transfers into the account, but not out).  You can find out your Bluebird account and routing number by going through most of the steps within your Bluebird account to setup Direct Deposit.
  • Payments under $1,000 seem to go through immediately whereas larger payments take time to process.
  • No one has reported any cases of credit card companies treating these payments as cash advances.
  • We don’t know exactly why Google flags some accounts but they do.  Some people have received emails from Google asking them to stop.  Others have had individual transactions cancelled.  At least one person reported that their Google Wallet account was suspended for their security.  They were asked to submit verification documents for review.

Have you learned anything useful about Google Wallet?  Please comment below.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. @Dan-Yes the emails are legit. A lot of people have gotten them. The latest report of a high denomination sent on that thread was a person sending 4k to his wife and it going through without a flag. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the emails though…

  2. Amex gift cards put the $1 hold on for the usual amount of time i.e. ~7 days. Tried the old incorrect expiration year trick to avoid the $1 hold but unlike AP, GWallet won’t add the card unless the expiration date is 100% correct.

  3. Wouldn’t loading BB with GW be a useful way to pay bills minus a step or two? Seems like an easy way to painlessly liquidate a pile of Amex gift cards I have lying around.

  4. And that explain why BB cut down the limit from bank to $2k. It is a direct response to GW method to load BB!

  5. @DFW, false, Amex actually updated the BB TOS and cut the BB limit on 5/20 – they just didn’t email the new terms out widely until yesterday.

  6. FrequentMiler, I think the FT thread you linked is incorrect…it takes me to “GW – Beggars Banquet” thread. FYI

  7. FrequentMiler, what did you mean when you said “Bluebird allows ACH transfers into the account, but not out”? I can transfer from my Bluebird to my bank savings account. Is that not an ACH transfer?

    • Andy: You can’t use your Bluebird account number and routing number to pull money out of Bluebird from other places. For example, you can’t setup your mortgage to automatically pull money from Bluebird. But, yes, you are correct that when you initiate a transfer from Bluebird to another bank that it is an ACH transfer. I stand corrected!

      RP: Thanks for those additional data points.

  8. Useful info FM. Thanks. Last week when I started with GW, amount <$2K was instant, but now my $1100 is pending for 3 days. Seems like every transaction above $900-$1000 goes to pending status now. Few days back GW to Bank was in 1-2 Business days but now my 2 transactions are 3 days pending (GW to Bank). Fortunately I spent most of my+spouse Amex BRG with GW. Perfect timing.

  9. I would really appreciate if I can get a penny from you, thanks in advance. Apologize if it’s too late now

  10. Daniel: yes, I think the reported emails from Google are legit.

    WeddingSpend: Thanks for that data point. That’s a long time to have to wait for a hold to be removed.

  11. Someone graciously sent me a penny but I recieved this message from GW

    “You’ve claimed $0.01 and it will be available in your Wallet Balance. You can use this money to buy stuff at the Google Play store. If you want to withdraw your money, just link a bank account below.

    We’ll let you know when you can use Gmail to quickly and securely send money to anyone in the U.S.”

    Not sure if theres a delay for everybody or if they just introduced this.

    Also, just a word to the wise, if your trying to send money, you are going to set yourself up for failure if you login to the 2 accounts (sender/receiver) with the same ip address and browser.

  12. to share my experience –
    I tried sending money in the amounts of $500 to $900 and credit card companies (Amex and Chase) both flagged it as fraud and blocked the transactions

  13. Essentially, Google SUCKS at product rollouts. They simply cannot provide customer service, and have never been able to. This reminds me of the first Google Nexus smartphone launch which they bungled so badly. Multiple reports of friends who are suspended in ID verification hell. Who is going to send documents to Google?!? The problem is the Indian CSR agents. They do answer the phone and their English is good and they are friendly. But they are also clueless. And the thing is, once you are stuck for some unknown random reason that makes no sense, Google just suspends your account and you can never get out of the hell. I know of several accounts suspended in ID verification but that can never get verified just for receiving a penny- didn’t get one step further. Google needs to invest in some real customer support and drop the arrogant engineer attitude. They can’t roll out a product. Beware your accounts here unless you have hours. Sadly, reminds me of Paypal!

  14. I’m not sure why you keep reporting that you can’t ACH out of Bluebird…I’ve done it multiple times over the past couple of months.

  15. ignore post 25…you responded to the issue in post #17 (serves me right for not reading the whole thread before posting)

  16. I have successfully sent money from GW to BB rather than directly to my bank account. This adds a step but allows for duplicate GW accounts going to different bank accounts

  17. So someone just sent me a penny! Which is awesome, but I do not see how I can now send money to someone. How long after you claim the penny should you see the $ icon in your gmail compose box?

  18. If it is not too late, please send a penny. Thanks you for your incredible blog. I read it almost everyday. You have helped me to reach my goals numerous times.

  19. What is with all the penny beggers here? Can you all not read English? Geez, for the first time ever, the comments here are resembling the complete idiot commenters on DansDeal Forums. I thought those readers were possibly the most moronic people in the world, but many of the commenters above sure are giving the moronic DansDeals commenters a run for their money. ๐Ÿ™

  20. I sent through 660 yesterday no problems, just tried for a larger amount around 3k and it is ‘pending’ will let you know how that goes.

  21. @Paul… I think that’s awesome how the those who has GW is willing to send a penny to help other readers out. I propose that every reader that receive a penny should pay it forward to the next 3 requesters. Having said that, if somebody send me a penny, I pledge to send a penny to the 3 other requesters. ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks! panjang at gmaildotcom

  22. If someone sends me a penny, I pledge to send pennies to three other requesters. rjalbertson at gmaildotcom.

  23. Does anyone know if you can make an ACH transfer out of GoBank? I mean give a routing number and your account number to your mortgage servicer and have them automatically take the funds.

  24. Whoever got money, but doesn’t have yet the icon in Gmail to send money, you can still go to wallet.google.com and send money to anyone.

  25. sent $1824.45 and still pending. Looks like da boyz at boardingarea.google.com (wouldnt that be something? hehe) are just sitting down and grinning at the monitors ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. @Grant Thanks for getting me started…

    @DaBears, Bored Russian, Eli Mongeon…. I sent you all a penny….go forth and multiply ๐Ÿ˜€

  27. I’m late to the party, but would love to get in on this and pay it forward to the other stragglers that are bound to come along. Thanks in advance if you can help: debrastanleysoprano at gmail.com

  28. So I can increase my manufactured spend by $2k/month by sending money through GW to BB (my friends/fam aren’t into receiving checks and paying me back)?

  29. Update 3-

    First Transaction for $650 approved
    Withdraw to Bank Account Approved
    Second Transaction $2990 Declined
    Withdraw to bank account reversed
    Email received from google:

    Hello,

    We recently noticed that you’re adding then withdrawing lots of funds from your Google Wallet Balance or sending/receiving money in a way that may violate our Terms of Service. As such, the transaction(s) in question have been cancelled.

    We wanted to offer a friendly reminder that the peer to peer service is intended for Google Wallet customers to send money to other persons, and not to rack up airline miles/rewards points or get cash advances. We view such transactions as misconduct under section 7 of the Google Wallet Terms of Services, and may decline to process such transactions or close your account if we identify in the future that you are using your account (and the no fee promotional period) for these purposes.

    Please note that replies to this message are not monitored. If you experience any further issues with your Google Wallet Account, you may visit

    Current status – attempted to withdraw $650 again to clear it from GW, if successful will keep below $800 for test purposes.

  30. I received the Google warning email in my 2nd account yesterday(same SSN and verified bank account). With my 1st account I had did 4K OUT and 1K IN, but account is safe with no warning. Interestingly my second account which did 2K OUT and $350 IN got flagged. Had to slow down sadly and wait for fellow manufacturer’s data points.

  31. I just got the warning email from Google too. Really was hoping that email wasn’t real still considering how unprofessionally written it is, but then again it is google… haha.

    Almost exactly $6k transferred A->B (never back) over 10 days. Always different amounts and max amount was $1200 at once. I was pretty carful about using different IP’s and browsers between the accounts when using wallet, but it’s difficult to avoid the same browser logging into google somehow across two machines with how much of your life google touches. I think that they are doing a nightly query and automatic email if you cross a certain total amount threshold over a specified period of days, or maybe if you do a couple large transactions in a row maybe. Either way, it is a warning only, but no way of knowing if they will cancel your account on the next transfer or what. Also no way of knowing how long the promo period will end. I’ve met a $10k spend requirement card now very easily in one month thanks to this and amazon payments, so can’t really complain. I’ll probably wait a while before doing another transfer to B. Add some other letters to the alphabet and lower amount so it doesn’t get caught by their query again.

  32. If anyone is feeling generous, I would love if you could send me a penny! The Wandering Aramean closed his comments! ๐Ÿ™

  33. @Toni and Sully: pennies sent. Do NOT Return it to me. This would cause a closed loop and could suspend my account.

  34. Confirm that fees now show up for me too. Glad I got $7k in free spend while it lasted. Wish I had done more now of course!

  35. I just got hooked up with Google Wallet but unfortunately cannot send money. I would appreciate if you could send me a penny too. My email : srishail.reddy@ gmail .com Thanks

  36. Appreciated if a penny can be sent to me too…. tialfred @ gmail. com (drop the spaces).
    Will send it to another person requesting it.

  37. Hello. Please send me a penny for google wallet activation! My email is bakers.full at gmail .com

    Ill be very glad!

  38. BEWARE OF GOOGLE WALLET!

    I have been with Google Wallet for 6 months, receiving small, P2P payments ($40-60) and spending them. A week ago, I was send a message about possible fraudulent activity. Submitted verification, account back up and going. I received the same email today, only a week later, submitted my verification AGAIN and received an email that my account was closed due to violation of terms of service with NO EXPLANATION WHY, and they will not tell me why, either by email or over the phone…and now I cannot get the $ out of my account or even access it…

    Watch out, Google Wallet users! Once again, Google has found a way to scam us!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *