Google has announced that it is partnering with major banks to enter the mobile banking industry. The search engine giant confirmed that it’s joining hands with eight major US-based banks, including BBVA and the US division of the Bank of Montreal in this project.
The tech giant also noted that it will be offering customers checking accounts that work entirely digitally through Google Pay. However, we’re still not sure if users of these accounts will have access to physical debit or credit cards from the partner banks or from Google itself.
The American tech giant plans to launch this service in 2021. The latest development doesn’t come as a surprise though. We have known for quite some time that the company was working on a plan that would see it enter the mobile banking industry.
Early last year, reports leaked that the search engine giant was working on a mobile banking product, internally codenamed the “cache project.” Google even announced that it had partnered with Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union for the first phase of the project. However, it’s clear now that more and more bank partners have joined the fray.
According to a Google spokesman, the tech giant has in recent months been exploring ways on how it can partner with credit unions and banks to offer a digital banking account through Google Pay. These new partnerships will indeed make this happen. Google is also confident that the partnerships will go a long way in offering customers “useful insights and budgeting tools” regarding their money.
The tech giant notes that so far it has signed up a total of eight banks into the program. First, they include the two initial partners Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union.
The search engine giant will also be working with BBVA USA, BMO, Coastal Community Bank, Harris, First Independence Bank, and SEFCU. It’s not clear if the search engine giant will continue to sign up more banks as part of the partnership. We are also not sure if the new mobile banking services will expand further than the United States.
Mobile banking isn’t something new and almost all banks offer such a service. However, Google does bring a lot of tech expertise and massive brand name recognition into the table. Whether this will be enough to encourage more clients to sign up for mobile-based digital checking accounts remains to be seen. Besides, Google is taking a completely different approach in the way it partners with the banks.
Traditionally, many startups offering mobile banking services only mention their banking partners in the fine print. But it seems like Google understands the value of bringing its bank partners at the forefront of the branding.
The goal here is that people will recognize these big-name banks and this would further help accelerate the adoption of the service. After all, there’s a huge subsection of mobile-first and online-only consumers out there.