Google is moving deeper into consumer finance. 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.
The Mountain View, California-based company partnered with Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union to launch the mobile bank accounts and said it plans to add 11 new partner institutions next year. Google Pay will also let users send peer-to-peer payments — a feature that made PayPal’s Venmo and Square’s Cash App household names as people shift to digital payments during the pandemic.
“Along with our bank partners, we were looking to make banking more relevant for the mobile-first generation,” Caesar Sengupta, general manager of payments at Google, told CNBC in a video interview. “It will help our partners make banking more approachable to that generation, and not only make it more relevant, but make it more fun.”
Google’s announcement is the latest move into finance by Big Tech. Rival Apple launched its iPhone-integrated credit card with Goldman Sachs last year. Facebook lets users make payments via Messenger in certain markets. Chinese conglomerates Alibaba and Tencent have become giants in payments and investing thanks to their mobile payments apps.
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. The Wall Street Journal reported that the partnership was in the works last year.
The new version of Google Pay looks like and borrows some features from Google’s other popular products, according to Sengupta. Users can link Google photos to search receipts and link Gmail to see bills and subscriptions for money management. It shows spending summaries, and trends over time. Users also get rewards and offers based on their transaction information.