Google Pay secures new partners ahead of 2021 revamp

Google is reported to have secured eight banking partners as the tech giant moves to significantly expand the product offering and services of its Google Pay platform.

Earmarked as ‘Project Cache’, in 2021 Google is expected to transform its Google Pay product into a ‘digital gateway’ to offer users personal finance services thereby expanding Google Pay beyond its transactional boundaries.

TechCrunch reported that US banks’ Bank Mobile, BBVA USA, BMO Harris, Coastal Community Bank, First Independent, Citi Group, SEFCU and SFCU have backed Google Pay’s 2021 directive.

Google Pay’s anticipated revamp will see the platform provide financial services already offered by Fintech start-ups. However, Google maintained that its new platform will only facilitate access to services offered by its banking partners, with Google Pay becoming the digital shop window for financial services.

Issuing a corporate statement, Google confirmed its first set of US bank partners, stating that it was pleased with their cooperation in wanting to improve Google Play – with Google confirming that it would add more US financial institutions over time.

Google launched Google Pay in 2015 primarily as an e-wallet service to complement the development of Android mobile systems competing against Apple iOS.

Tech observers detailed that ‘Project Cache’ will rapidly accelerate Google’s position within the mobile payment space, in which Google Pay currently lies in seventh place in terms of users behind global rivals AliPay, WeChat, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay and PayPal.

The benefits for traditional banks are clear as Google will provide a new sales channel for incumbents to offer their financial services to younger consumers who have moved away from traditional bricks-and-mortar banking services to new start-ups.

Silicon Valley giants have made no secret of their desires to dominate the lucrative payment and Fintech sectors.

This weekend Apple confirmed that it had undertaken a $100 million buyout of Montreal start-up Mobeewave, acquiring its unproven Near Field Communications (NFC) technologies.

The acquisition is seen as Apple’s move to expand its Apple Pay contactless provisions against fast-growth incumbents such as iZettle and Square, seeking to dominate contactless payment services for US retail merchants.

Alongside Facebook and Amazon, both Google and Apple are in the midst of a US antitrust hearings by Congress, as senators examine the domination of digital markets by Valley Giants.

In his opening remarks to Congress, Google CEO Sundar Pichai remarked that the tech firm was primarily funded by its large advertising platform, in which the company faces “severe competition from new players and established businesses”.