Google Pay Adds Checking Accounts, Insights and Budgeting Tools

Google is getting deeper into mobile banking with the arrival of an array of new features, including embedded checking accounts, in Google Pay. The search giant has revamped the app to expand Google Pay’s offerings beyond digital peer-to-peer transactions, joining a list of big tech companies that continue to edge further into personal financial services.

The brand new version, which still in an invite-only “early access” mode, now offers built-in budgeting tools and financial insights with visual spending tools and easy ways to manage spending.

Google said in a live teaser that Google Pay’s suite of new functionalities is an extension of their original ventures into digital bank accounts from Citi and SFCU. It also plans to onboard eleven new partners in 2021 in order to add online checking and savings accounts inside the app under a new service called “Plex.”

“Along with our bank partners, we were looking to make banking more relevant for the mobile-first generation. It will help our partners make banking more approachable to that generation, and not only make it more relevant, but make it more fun,” Caesar Sengupta, general manager of payments at Google told CNBC.

Google Pay added three new tabs that show transaction history, offer deals and discounts and connect users’ bank accounts to allow them find overview of their finances and peer-to-peer payments. The app is also able to crawl other Gmail services like Gmail to look for receipts.

Under the banking collaborations, Google will primarily provide the front-end experience and insight via the Pay app while the banks provide the financial backing, FDIC insurance and transactional infrastructure.

Users will also have access to physical debit cards issued through Google or its partners. They will benefit from savings accounts that have no monthly fees, overdraft charges or minimum balance requirements and can also request a special Google-branded debit card, which will run on Mastercard’s network.

The new version of Google Pay gives the search behemoth more data about its users as people flock toward digital banking during the pandemic. It also allows Google to compete with services like Venmo (owned by Paypal), Apple Pay, and Square’s Cash App.

All these P2P payment apps allow consumers to use their smartphones to pay for goods and services, pay bills, and transfer money to friends and family. However, many of these apps expanded its functionality beyond just a payment service as users can also receive direct deposit payments and ACH payments, as well as purchase cryptocurrency through the platform.

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