Google ‘exploring’ personal banking alongisde Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union

Google is set to further push its ambitions in the finance sector with the launch of a new personal checking account service.

The project, currently code-named “Cache,” will see the tech giant utilise their relationships with partners Citi Group and Stanford Federal Credit Union to offer bank-controlled checking accounts.

A spokesperson for Google told Payment Expert: “We’re exploring how we can partner with banks and credit unions in the US to offer smart checking accounts through Google Pay, helping their customers benefit from useful insights and budgeting tools, while keeping their money in an FDIC or NCUA-insured account. 

“Our lead partners today are Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union, and we look forward to sharing more details in the coming months.” 

As banking continues to head towards a more consumer-focused industry, numerous global firms are beginning to involve themselves, for example the controversial Libra project led by Facebook and Apple’s credit card launch

With Google already possessing experience in the payments space through its digital wallet platform Google Pay, strong relationships with banks, credit unions, and the existing regulatory and financial systems is expected to help the firm in its endeavours.

It is understood that Google will not handle any financial and compliance activities related to the accounts.

Read expert analysis on the growth of technology giants and their possible future impact on the payments space.

“We believe our partners’ regulatory and financial know-how is a great complement to our experience in building helpful tools and technology for our users,” continued the Google spokesperson. 

“In the US, more than 2,000 banks already offer virtual card transactions via Google Pay, and in India we’ve seen how fast and secure mobile payments can contribute to growing economic opportunity.”

These smart checking accounts are expected to launch via Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union through Google Pay in 2020.

Speaking to the Credit Union Times, CEO of Stanford Federal Credit Union Joan Opp described the move as an ‘extension’ of what Google already offers. 

She elaborated:  “Certainly data and data privacy is a big issue that’s in the headlines every day. I would start by saying anybody that’s using Google Pay or Apple Pay, that data is already there anyway.

“That transaction data for any of those payments, the provider already has. So I see this as being an extension of that mechanics, although with this type of account there will be more data. But it will be specific to that account and any consumer that opens that account.

“I think the key is transparency in the data and how the data is being used. I think Google’s committed to that transparency, as are we.”