Google Scraps plans to offer bank accounts


Top line

Google scrapped plans to offer bank accounts almost two years after its announcement, saying it intended to focus on digital payment systems instead.

Highlights

The project, dubbed Google Plex, was originally slated to launch in 2020 and integrated with the redesigned Google Pay app, but has been repeatedly delayed.

The company ultimately decided to unplug the plug after a Google Pay executive who defended the project left in April, sources said. The Wall Street Journal, who first reported the move.

Google said Forbes it is updating its approach to focus on “providing digital empowerment to banks and other financial service providers” instead of providing the services themselves.

Key context

Google unveiled plans to offer enhanced checking accounts and debit cards to users of the Google Pay digital wallet in 2019. Plex accounts were supposed to work in the Google Pay app, which provides a digital dashboard that shows users users how much they spend or save and provides other features such as retail offers and discounts for users. Google has created apps to connect its users to financial services over the past decade, starting with the introduction of Google Wallet in 2011 to compete with Apple and others who have launched their own systems.

Large number

11. This is the number of banks and credit card unions that Google has partnered with for the Plex account. One of the biggest contributors was Citigroup, one of the largest US banks, which had started a waitlist with Google for customers to sign up for the “Citi Plex Account”.

Tangent

Other companies have also reportedly tried to get into consumer banking, including Amazon. In 2018, it was reported that the company was in talks with JPMorgan Chase to set up a checking account to appeal to younger clients and those without a bank account. However, the company did not follow up on the proposal. Apple successfully launched a credit card with banking company Goldman Sachs in 2019, called “Apple Card,” which could be used with Apple Pay.

Further reading

Google Plex: The mobile banking app all banks want (Forbes)

Next in Google’s Quest for Consumer Dominance: Banking (The Wall Street Journal)


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