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Google Pony Express will let you pay bills in Gmail

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(Read caption) The Google Chromebook Pixel laptop, in San Jose, Calif. Google is working on a program called Pony Express that would let users pay bills without leaving their Gmail accounts.

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Soon, you might be able to pay your monthly bills without ever leaving your email account.

Google is working on a bill payment system, called Pony Express, that would save you from having to visit a utility or service’s website, let alone make the treacherous trek all the way to your physical mailbox.

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Details of the service are laid out in a “lengthy document” reviewed by tech blog Re/code.

The service is set to roll out late this year, according to the document. It wasn’t clear whether Pony Express is a code name being used during development or would be the product’s official name, Re/code reported.

Google declined to comment for the blog’s post.

According to the document, users would provide information like name, address, telephone and at least partial Social Security numbers.

Online billing is, obviously, not a new service. But Google would presumably tout its ability to pull all of a user’s bills together into one convenient folder and set up a single, simple method for paying them.

Screenshots published by Re/code show such a folder, as well as a feature that allows users to click on a bill and indicate whether they’d like to use a preapproved bank account to pay it.

The document also showed the ability to share a bill with other Gmail users — say, a spouse or roommate — and a way to capture an image of the bill, which could be used for actions like filing expense reports.

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A handful of existing apps let users pull all their bills together and pay them in one place. But Google’s obvious advantage is the more than half a billion people who already regularly use Gmail.

Mobile and online payments have become an area of high interest for Google in recent months. The technology giant is reportedly working on Android Pay, a mobile payments system that would expand upon its existing Google Wallet service and compete with the rapidly emerging Apple Pay system.

Android Pay, which is expected to debut in May, would let companies add a tap-to-pay option at their retail locations or a button on their apps that would let users pay for merchandise with a single touch.

Doug Gross is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter@doug_gross and on Google+.