Gmail users in the United Kingdom may notice a new attachment icon today shaped like a British pound sign which does exactly what it suggests: attaches money to an email.
American users need not be envious. Google already released the feature this side of the pond more than a year ago, even if it was easy to overlook that mysterious little dollar sign at the bottom of every message.
Here’s a refresher on how it works:
1) Open a new message in Gmail and click on the dollar sign icon beneath the text box.
2) A pop-up window will appear prompting the user to link an existing credit or debit card to Google Wallet. Already have Google Wallet? Skip ahead to step 3. Otherwise, grab your credit card and fill out the billing information to set up an account.
3) Type in the amount you want to send to the recipient, hit “send,” and it will land as an attachment in the recipient’s inbox, regardless of whether they’re using Gmail or an alternative email service.
4) Here’s the rub: Recipients also need an existing Google Wallet account to receive the payment. The money automatically uploads to their Google Wallet balance, or it can be transferred directly into a banking account.
5) Swallow the fee. Google tacks on an extra 2.9% fee for credit or debit card payments, but the user can avoid the fee by sending money directly from a banking account or by living in the UK, where no fees apply. The receiver gets off scot free.
That’s it, an incredibly handy feature which is only limited by the number of users on Google Wallet and their keen eye for mysterious icons.