You no longer have to use Google's official app if you want to get started with Android Pay's tap-to-buy features. The internet giant has forgedpartnerships with several financial institutions (currently including Bank of America, BNZ, Discover, mBank and USAA) that let you add cards and use Android Pay from within their mobile banking apps. The tap-to-pay experience should remain familiar, right down to getting notifications whenever you make a purchase.
The addition won't matter much if you're comfortable with NFC-based purchases, but it could help expand Android Pay's reach. Many people don't know their phones can handle tap-to-pay shopping, and this could expose them to the concept for the first time. It's also a sharp contrast with the likes of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, where you typically have to use first-party tools to get started. Google is clearly betting that the more open nature of Android Pay will give it a larger footprint.
Gmail for Android can send and receive payments as attachments
The Gmail app for Android has scored what used to be a web-only feature. It now has Google Wallet integration, so you can send and request money right within your emails. Say, you need to split the bill for a dinner -- all you need to do is tap the attachment icon and click "Send money" to pay your friend. A Google Wallet pop up will ask you how much you want to send and will forward your payment as an attachment.
In case you're typically the one receiving payments for group dinners, shared bills and the like, you can also tweak the feature's settings to send the money straight to your bank account. The feature works even if your friends, roommates or co-workers don't use Gmail, but only if you're all in the US. Since it's only available for users in the country and only on Android and the web, you'll probably want to keep those other payment apps on your phone.