How to Use Google Pay to Track Your Spending & Help You Budget Your Money

Google Pay Featured

The new Google Pay app has a slew of new features (as well as a snazzy new logo). One of the more useful features is the ability to link your debit and credit cards. Doing so will enable you to track all of your spending, making balancing your checkbook super easy.

What Is Google Pay?

Google Pay launched a few years ago and was primarily envisioned as a way to make payments with your smartphone. Basically, a user could link their debit, credit and loyalty cards to the app. Google Pay would then allow the user to make contactless payments using their phone, reducing the nee to pull out a wallet or rummage through a bag.

Google Pay Track Spending Overview 1

While Google Pay is primarily focused on these contactless mobile payments via smartphone, the app boasts other features as well. One such feature is a peer-to-peer payment system similar to Venmo. Furthermore, Google Pay automatically curates deals and discounts available based on your location and personal spending history.

How Does Google Pay Help with Budgeting?

Thanks to an overhaul to the Google Pay app earlier this year, Google Pay has expanded its abilities. One of the most useful is the “Insights” feature. Essentially, this feature allows users to link their bank accounts to the Google Pay app. Doing so will give users the opportunity to track their spending. This gives users an overview of their current financial situation, including how much money they have and how much they are spending.

Google Pay Promo

Google Pay will also provide users with detailed charts and graphs to help people understand where their money is going. Furthermore, Google Pay can also help users digitize and organize their receipts, which is super handy come tax time.

Download the Google Pay App

To get started, the first thing you need to do is download the latest version of the Google Pay app. If you already have the Google Pay app on your phone, there’s a chance that it may be an older version that doesn’t have the “Insights” feature.

Google Pay Play Store

Make sure you grab the latest version of Google Pay for your Android or iOS device. Once you’ve installed the Google Pay app, launch it and sign in using your Google account credentials.

Link Your Bank Account

With the Google Pay app open on your Android or iOS device, tap on “Insights” on the right side. Here you’ll see a button labelled “Add an Account.” Go ahead and tap on that.

The screen that appears next explains that Google uses a service called “Plaid” to link your bank account. You won’t be able to take advantage of Google Pay’s Insights feature unless you tap on “Accept & Continue.” Doing so will bring you to another screen that asks you to accept the details of the Privacy Policy. Provided you agree, tap on “Continue.”

Google Pay Add Account

Now that you have the legal stuff out of the way, you can finally link your bank account to Google Pay. The first thing you need to do is identify your bank. Use the search bar at the top of the screen to find your bank and select it. Next, you’ll need to punch in your bank login credentials. Finally, tap on the submit button to link your account.

Google Pay Link Account

Note: different banks will have different login credentials. Just carefully follow the steps on screen and your bank account will be linked in no time.

What Is Plaid?

In the previous section we mentioned that Google Pay uses a service called Plaid to link your bank account to the app. If you’ve never heard of Plaid, you may be asking yourself, what does a fabric pattern have to do with my personal finances?

Google Pay Budget Plaid

Plaid is a financial services company that enables applications (like Google Pay) to connect to user bank accounts. This enables the user to check their balances and make payments via the app of their choice. Think of it this way: instead of having separate apps for all of your financial accounts, Plaid allows you to integrate these accounts into a singular app (like Google Pay).

How to See All of Your Transactions

Now that you’ve linked your bank account to Google Pay, you’ll be able to take advantage of the “Insights” feature. Be aware that it may take a few minutes before your bank account is linked to Google Pay. Once your account is linked, you’ll see a section labelled “Your Money.” This is broken down into two categories: “You have” and “You spent.” This provides users with a snapshot of their finances.

Google Pay Stay On Top

Furthermore, you can see an itemized list of all of the money that is coming and going by tapping “Insights -> All Transactions.” In addition, at the top of the Insights page there is a button labeled “See More”. Tapping on this will allow users to see more detailed information concerning their personal finances. This includes various charts that help users visualize their spending habits, a list of upcoming expenses such as utility bills, and the ability to search and view receipts stored in the user’s Gmail and Google Photos accounts.

Google Pay Charts

Note: if you don’t see any data, this is because Google Pay has not had enough time to analyze your spending habits.

The older version of Google Pay provided users with a convenient solution for making payments on the go. With the new and improved Google Pay, users can still make convenient payments, but they can also track their spending, giving users the opportunity to take control of their finances and better budget their money.

Image credit: Close-up view of businessman using Google Pay paying for public transport by DespoitPhotos

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