Google is working on a project called Pony Express, that is designed to allow people pay their bills within Gmail, rather than having to go to a telecom or utility company’s website to complete a payment. The new service is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter. It is still unclear whether Pony Express is a code name or the market name of the product itself.
The document Recode showed in the picture above, has a set up asking the user for personal information like their name, address and partial and full Social Security number – to provide to a third party which would verify their identity. Depending on the bill, users might also have to provide a credit card or account number information to get started.
Once a user is authenticated, he/she can receive or pay the bills through Gmail or the Inbox app (Google’s new email app). Users can pay with a debit/credit card, and their bills would be organized into a designated folder, as shown in the image below.
It seems Google is partnering with the third party vendors that print and mail out bills rather than the service providers themselves.
Google would not be the first company to be offering a service like this. A startup called Manilla, backed by Hearst, also provided the similar service for several years before shutting down in 2014. An app called Check (acquired by Intuit for $360M) also allows people to view and pay their bills through the app.