Google Wallet debuts automatic transfers so you can skip “cashing out”

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Google today is stepping up its battle with Venmo, Square Cash and other person-to-person payment applications with an update to its Google Wallet mobile app, which now allows for automatic transfers to your bank account. That is, transfers will no longer require you to cash out money from your Wallet balance first. This will speed up the time it takes for Wallet users to gain access to their cash, something that has been slower in the past.

The feature was announced in the app’s update text on Friday, but we understand the feature will actually begin rolling out gradually, starting next week.

As you may recall, Google Wallet transitioned to become a peer-to-peer payments app last year following the launch of Android Pay, Google’s Apple Pay rival now used at point-of-sale and for in-app purchases on Android devices. Earlier this year, the company also dropped support for the physical, plastic Google Wallet card associated with the app, as it continued its transition to p2p payments.

Today, waiting to cash out your balance from Google Wallet can still take time, which is why Google is switching on this automatic transfers option.

Users will now be able to select a bank account or debit card for automatic transfers within the app or via the web. Once enabled, you won’t have to manually “cash out” money from your Wallet balance – it will just automatically become available.

That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be “instantly” available, however – that depends on several factors – like who you bank with, or whether you’re crediting the money back to a debit card. Transfers to debit cards will be instant in most cases, though some banks may take 24 hours to process those transactions. Meanwhile, transfers to banks should take 1 to 3 days.

This change also means that when you send money to friends, those funds will also be able to go to their bank accounts automatically, without any waiting time for them.

Of course, you’ll still be able to keep money in your Google Wallet balance if you want to – that option is not going away.

There will still be times when transfers take longer, though, as with any other payments service. Google may need to run fraud checks or may need to perform additional verification of user accounts, on occasion.

However, the move to bypass the “cash out” process could help Google Wallet better compete against the growing number of digital payment services, including PayPal and PayPal-owned Venmo, Square Cash, and even social networks like Facebook and Snapchat, which have experimented with bundling in payments to their messaging apps. Apple, too, will soon support payments in iMessage, as powered by Square Cash.

Square Cash powers Snapchat’s payment system, too, but it only this year added the option to hold a balance through an optional “Cash Drawer” setting. With the update, Google is moving like Square Cash in reverse. It already had the cash drawer option; now it can transfer the money more quickly, too.