Torbjorn Zetterlund

Wed 15 2017

Send money with your Gmail app on Android

by bernt & torsten

When I see an app that talks to me or a new feature in an app that appeals to me, I want to share it with others. I have spent the majority of my working life in the payment industry and worked on ways to make receiving and send money easily.

In 1998 – 1999, I got involved with smartphones, and as a team, we put together a proof of concept on how to send money from a mobile phone to a bank. At the time I was working for a company that had a software solution for the banks to process payment transactions and switch transactions to various payment networks.

In 1999 when business models flourishing for internet-based services, we as a traditional software house “tried” to show values on how to use our software solution for processing payment transactions from the internet and mobile phones.


You might not know, smartphones goes back to 1994, when I got in involved the smartphone had evolved and in the 1999 timeframe we put together a proof of concept using a  Nokia 9000 series to make a payment transaction from a mobile phone. It was a great way to show what could happen in the future, there was no working business model, all the efforts we put in stayed as a proof of concept.

There were other smartphones evolving The Palm Treo was one with its own app store – they were not that user-friendly and worked best in a business environment, it was not before 2007 when the iPhone came when smartphones really took off.


A few years later, in 2002 I was hired by a startup – to create a mobile commerce service to send and receive payments, the startup’s first payment service was email-money-transfer and that service is still available today in Canada. The company that provides the service is the Canadian payment network Interac.

We got a proof of concept together, showing how we could use a mobile phone to make an email money transfer on our platform. We took our proof of concept on the road visiting mobile providers, merchants, did focus groups with consumers, it looked promising.

In the end,  payment regulation issues on how to validate authenticate a pin number on a device put the project on definitely hold.


Tills today there has not been a mobile payment system, that made me excited. There are mobile payment systems, the business models are different. Either you buy something with your mobile and it’s charged to your phone bill or you can use apps to send and receive money e.g. Paypal.

Gmail Money

When I read about using Gmail to send and receive money, I got excited. Whether you’re splitting a dinner bill or planning a group trip, you now have a fee-free way to work out the details and settle up without ever leaving the Gmail app on Android, just like you can already do on the web. Plus, you can exchange money with anyone—not just people with Gmail addresses.

Sending money in Gmail is as easy as sending any other attachment. Just tap on the attachment icon and choose whether you want to send or request money.

Recipients are able to receive or request money right from the email itself—without having to install another payment app. They can arrange for money they receive to go directly into their bank account. Either way, it’s completely free for both of you.


The only drawback for me is, that the app is only available in the U.S. only, so I have to make a trip over there to test it out.

Since I wrote this, my local bank in the Netherlands, launched a mobile wallet app that uses the NFC on the mobile to make a payment, a really interesting solution, you can make contactless payments with your Android app.

What’s your thoughts about mobile payment apps,