At the last “Build 2018”, Microsoft announced that it will add its mobile payment and digital wallet service, Microsoft Pay, to Microsoft Outlook. The new Microsoft Pay integration will allow users to make payments for invoices or bills received via email right from their inbox.
This means that users will no longer be redirected to a third-party website, service, or app and wade through a series of windows to make payments. “We will soon be introducing payments in Outlook to help users to pay bills or invoices, right in email, without needing to switch to another app or service,” Microsoft said in its press release. “Powered by Microsoft Pay, payments in Outlook is a fast and secure way to pay from within email.”
Microsoft announced that the feature will be rolled out to a limited group of Outlook users initially over the coming few weeks before it becomes available to a broader range over the next few months.
The company also noted that it would be partnering up with payment processors such as Stripe and Braintree to enable the service, while Zuora, FreshBooks, Intuit, Invoice2Go, Sage, Wave, and Xero will be their initial billing and invoicing service partners.
Although Microsoft does not intend to make money with the feature, it does give users a reason to start using Microsoft Outlook as opposed to any other email app or browser.
Moreover, it also opens up opportunities for third-party service providers. If they see that more and more people are starting to use Outlook payments, they might consider integrating their own services into Microsoft’s popular email management application.
Microsoft also announced that in addition to Microsoft Pay, Adaptive Cards is also coming to Microsoft Outlook.
The new card design format, which is already available across several Microsoft services including Skype, Bing, and Cortana, among others, allows developers to create “cards” for their app or service, which makes the platform more intelligent and interactive.
Outlook 2016 and Outlook.com will gain Adaptive Cards for actionable messages that enables users to complete actions and tasks, whether it is approving an expense report or assigning a task to a team member, right from their inbox. The new card design format can be integrated with emails, bots, and Team Chats, the company pointed out in its press release.