Google Offers Banking Accounts
Update 11/18/20: The tech giant will let users open bank accounts, pay friends and manage budgets through a new version of its Google Pay app rolling out Wednesday.
Google said its “Plex” checking and savings accounts have no monthly fees, overdraft charges or minimum balance requirements. Users can also request a physical debit card, which will run on Mastercard’s network. Users can link to Google photos to search receipts and link Gmail to see bills and subscriptions for money management. You can also get rewards and offers based on their transaction information.
Google will begin offering checking accounts to consumers next year as part of its push into financial services. The Wall Street Journal reports that the product, currently code-named “Cache,” will be run by Citigroup and small lender Stanford Federal Credit Union.
Google has already offered financial services in the past. It launched Google Wallet in 2011 but shut down the associated Google Wallet card in 2016. Google Pay was launched later. It also ran a site to compare financial products like auto insurance and credit cards. That went on from 2015 and 2016 but shuttered it after about a year.
Deposit growth at the biggest U.S. banks slowed to 2.2% last year, the lowest level since 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence. Consumers have increasingly rushed to newer, digital-only banks such as SoFi Money for example, that come with flashy mobile apps and often offer bonuses and higher interest rates for their savings. Citibank has been making a push of its own for more consumer deposits.
Banks can use Google’s name to attract banking customers, the same way they use airlines and hotel chains for example to attract new users for their credit cards. On the other hand, Google can benefit from a partnership with established players in the financial industry. But, to attract customers, they still have to offer something unique that stands out from crowd. There’s no details yet as to what these new account might have in the form of rates, perks, and benefits. Hopefully a banking bonus as well.