Google Reportedly Looking to Launch Checking Account
The way Americans bank has certainly changed over the past decade. Not only has the number of bank branches contracted considerably but the companies behind some popular financial accounts weren’t even around in 2009. With the rise of banking options, it now seems that one of the largest tech companies in the country is interested in the space. According to the Wall Street Journal, the project reportedly dubbed “Cache” will find Google introducing a checking account.
While many FinTechs tend to partner with smaller banks for their offerings, Google allegedly plans to work with the “too big to fail” Citigroup. That said the other institution expected to join the part is a Stanford University credit union. The Journal reports that these checking accounts would be accessed via the company’s Google Pay wallet — a feature they’ve previously tried to boost adoption for. Currently execs are not yet sure if they will charge any fees for the account.
Obviously this interesting bit of news comes not long after another major Silicon Valley resident made a splash by entering the financial services world. Back in August, Apple launched its Apple Card in partnership with Goldman Sachs, although the former company advertised the product as being “created by Apple, not a bank.” Perhaps they wish they could take that slogan back now as some have accused the card’s approval algorithm of being sexist after reports surfaced showing husbands and wives receiving drastically different credit limits. Among those sharing such stories was Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak who noted that he was given a limit 10 times larger than his wife’s despite the two holding only joint accounts. Wozniak also tweeted about the discrepancy, writing, “Some say the blame is on Goldman Sachs but the way Apple is attached, they should share responsibility.” Meanwhile things are going just about as well at Facebook where the announcement of the Libra cryptocurrencies has been met with regulatory backlash around the globe, leading some previously announced partners to abandon ship.
Ultimately it seems likely that critics of Facebook’s Libra plans will also find reason for concern in Google’s apparent banking aspirations. Both companies have already been targets due to privacy concerns — including Google’s latest scandal surrounding Project Nightingale — so convincing some customers to then trust them with their finances might prove difficult. At the same time, the Journal cites a McKinsey & Co. survey that found 58% of respondents would trust Google with a financial product, topping both Apple and Facebook (but falling behind Amazon). Therefore, if the company can put together a compelling offering that speaks to the needs of underbanked individuals and beyond, perhaps Google Checking or whatever its name may be might just work out.