Gmail users in the UK no longer need to reach for online banking card readers to transfer money to friends, since Google’s email service announced the launch of its own ‘send and request’ service.

All Gmail users aged 18 and over are able to use the free service, but will have to set up a Google Wallet Balance linked to their debit card or bank account. Once this is done, they’ll be able to send money to other users within a simple email.

[themecolor]Please find your money attached[/themecolor]

Attaching a payment is achieved in the same way as a document – via the attachment paperclip. To send money, a user hovers over the paperclip, clicks the ‘£’ icon, enters the amount they’d like to send, and then clicks send. Requesting money is a similar process, but instead of entering the amount you’d like to send, the field is left blank in order to turn it into a request.

Any money received or added into a Google Wallet Balance will remain there for future spending via transfers, on Google Play and other websites that accept the Google Wallet service. Alternatively, funds can be quickly transferred into the user’s bank account, reports have confirmed.

“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,” Google stated.

The introduction of Google Wallet Balance positions the search engine giant as a firm rival to other peer-to-peer payment services, such as PayPal and Snapchat’s Snapcash feature. Social Media site Facebook is also rumoured to have a similar service in the pipeline.

It could also prove scary to banks, which will now have to improve their international transfer rates in order to avoid getting left behind.