Outside the US, Google wallet users could only purchase Android apps and content previously. But starting this week Google has announced Gmail money transfer’s launch in the U.K. People in the UK will now be able to quickly and securely send money to friends and family in the UK directly within desktop Gmail — even if the recipient doesn’t have a Gmail address.

While this move doesn’t come close to the wide extent of services Google Wallet offers from direct money transfers to contactless credit and debit card payments on Android phones that sport NFC chips, it is a big step considering the only feature available until now was in-store purchases on Google Play.

Google describes on its commerce blog the directions for using Wallet feature on your Gmail account- To send money in Gmail, hover over the attachment paperclip, click the £ icon to attach money to your message, enter the amount you wish to send, and press send. You can also request money in Gmail by hovering over the attachment paperclip and clicking the £ icon to attach the request to a Gmail message. They have also posted a video to assist users.

While Google Wallet allows users to send money to people without Gmail accounts, both the sending and receiving parties will be required to set up a Google Wallet Balance and link their debit card or bank account to it. After that, the money can be kept in the Wallet Balance for later sending, for spending on Google Play, the user can quickly transfer it to their bank account.

Following in- line after ApplePay which is hugely popular amongst iOS users, Google wallet is driven towards providing mobile payment solutions to Android users. Apple has confirmed it aims to bring Pay to U.K. iPhones and merchants in 2015.

Both ApplePay and Google Wallet are competing with the more popular PayPal, Cash and Venmo mobile payment services. However, by introducing online transfers via Gmail in the UK, Google will be able to set up a market base of users signing up for Google Wallet for when it eventually launches more services in the UK.

(image credit: Sergio Uceda)

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