Microsoft Pay may soon be arriving in your Outlook Email box and streamlining the way that you make payments. As the following TechCrunch article reports, Microsoft will launch the new service on a limited basis with plans for wider availability in the future.
Microsoft Pay — Microsoft’s answer to Android Pay and Apple Pay that was originally launched in 2016 as Microsoft Wallet — is getting a little more useful today. At Build, Microsoft announced that it will be integrating its digital wallet service into Outlook. This means that, for the first time, when a company sends you an invoice in an email, and you are using Outlook to read it, you can pay that bill directly, without needing to leave Outlook and open a different app or service. Instead, a panel that will open to the right of the main one by way of Microsoft’s Adaptive Cards.
As it launches — Microsoft says it will come first to a limited number of Outlook.com users over the next few weeks, and then more broadly over the next few months — it said that Stripe (using Stripe Connect) and Braintree will be among the payment processors powering the service, and Zuora, FreshBooks, Intuit, Invoice2Go, Sage, Wave, and Xero will be among the billing and invoicing services that will initially be using the feature. In other words, businesses using a combination of these will be able to offer Outlook-using customers the ability to use the feature.
The integration of Microsoft Pay into Outlook is part of a bigger shift that Microsoft is making to try to reduce some of the friction in its services by way of Adaptive Cards and other integration-friendly developer mechanics. The company effectively has capabilities covering many different aspects of computing and what the average user might want to do on a screen or in an app, and so it is building (and promoting to developers) more connective bridges to use Microsoft services rather than someone else’s.
Consumers want fast payment methods and providers are listening. Integrating Microsoft Pay with Outlook seems like a no-brainer, but technology interfaces are not simple to develop and deliver, so this has been awhile in coming. Microsoft Pay has not been a big player among the digital wallet leaders, but having its large customer base of Outlook users could be a game-changer. Merchants and billers will benefit with this integrated electronic payment feature that will outrun the post office every time.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group