Back in 2017, Google Fi introduced a Group Repay feature to simplify plans with multiple members. The MVNO announced its getting rid of the feature in a little over a month.
With Group Repay, Google would “calculate participating members’ portion of the bill, send out payment reminders, and provide a simple way for members to repay plan owners directly through [Google] Fi.” The feature was integrated is Google Pay, and received payments could be directly deposited.
In an email to Group owners and members, Google today explained that it’s getting rid of the feature:
We wanted to let you know that Group repay will no longer be available with Google Fi starting September 16, 2020. This means your group members won’t get payment reminders, and you won’t be able to receive payments through the Fi app.
You can turn off Group repay starting today or wait until it’s automatically turned off on September 16.
The company’s proposed solution is to use Google Pay Send or any other popular peer-to-peer (P2) app. A per-member usage/payment breakdown will be available in the monthly Fi bill. The email explains what is now expected of group owners:
After that, you’ll be responsible for requesting payments from your group members for their portion of the bill. You can do this with the Google Pay app, or with a different payment method.
Google tells us that usage of Group Repay was limited, but there are many upset customers today. They enjoyed the level of automation the feature provided and preferred the end-to-end payment experience offered by Fi.
This has been extremely important for my family plan. This being removed and lack of fully supported devices is making me consider switching services
I don’t even understand the reasoning why they would even do this. This made my life so much easier and just worked. I have been an advocate for Google Fi for a long time, but it feels like it’s becoming more of a burden and stress due to how many times things change.
I now have to communicate this out to all of the people on my plan and either decide to keep doing it or just have everyone get off of my plan and switch.
I have my elderly parents on my group plan and reminders/payments this way was very easy for all of us. Seems like an arbitrary shutdown. Damn.
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