The Google Pay app has a variety of great features to make managing your finances easier. One of the more useful features is the ability to link your debit and credit cards. Doing so will enable you to use Google Pay to track your spending, making balancing your checkbook and budgeting your money super easy.
Google Pay is in the middle of another makeover. It has been rebranded, again, as Google Wallet in certain countries. However, Google Pay users in US and Canada can continue to use the app, albeit with a different name, for tracking expenses and budgeting.
What Is Google Pay?
Google Pay launched in 2018 (as Google Wallet, and then rebranded as Android Pay before becoming Google Pay) 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 need to pull out a wallet or rummage through a bag.
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. It’ll also help you track your spending.
How Does Google Pay Help with Budgeting?
Google Pay has expanded its abilities over time. 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 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 (such as G Pay) on your phone, there’s a chance that it may be an older version that doesn’t have the “Insights” feature.
Link Your Bank Account
To track your spending, you’ll want to link your bank account. With the Google Pay app open on your Android or iOS device,
- Tap on “Track spending” or the Insights icon at the bottom right ($ symbol).
- Tap “Link your 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.
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?
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 labeled “Your Money.” This is broken down into two categories: “You have” and “You spent.” This provides users with a snapshot of their finances.
Furthermore, you can see an itemized list of all of the money that is coming and going by tapping “Insights -> Show all accounts.” 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.
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. Now, you can use Google Pay to track spending, giving users the opportunity to take control of their finances and better budget their money.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is G Pay the same thing as Google Pay?
The G Pay app isn’t the same as Google Pay. G Pay is an older version that doesn’t include the Insights feature. It’s installed on many devices from 2021 and earlier by default. However, if you want all the features, it’s better to upgrade to Google Pay.
Google Pay combines Android Pay and features of Google Wallet to let you send payments to friends, pay in stores, and manage your finances.
If you have the older version of Google Pay from 2021, update it in order to see the new features.
Can I filter finances by account?
Yes. When viewing your insights, you can filter by account and time period. For instance, you can view data for the current month, a specific month, last three months, or the entire year.
How can I check for specific transactions?
In addition to viewing insights about your spending overall, you can also view specific transactions if you’re managing your budget outside of Google Pay. Simply use the search feature at the top of the app and enter a retailer or keyword to find the transaction and all relevant details.
Is it safe to link my bank account to Google Pay?
It’s just as safe as logging into your bank account via a browser or app. It’s always important to use a strong password for your bank account that you don’t use anywhere else.
Plus, make sure you have a screen lock in place to protect your Google Pay app from unauthorized access.
If you’re only using Google Pay to track your spending versus as a digital wallet, you might want to try a budgeting app like Ivy Wallet instead.
Image credit: Jonas Leupe via Unsplash
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