A new report from the Wall Street Journal, via TechCrunch, points to Google entering the banking sector. The new Google project, cleverly codenamed “Cache,” will partner with existing banks and credit unions to offer checking accounts.
In clear competition with Apple Card, Google’s “Cache” project is working with CitiGroup and Stanford Federal Credit Union to offer checking accounts, starting next year. Interestingly, Stanford Federal Credit Union seems to have been chosen due to its proximity to Google’s main campus and how many Googlers bank there.
As you would expect from a new financial initiative from Google, Cache checking accounts will be managed via the Google Pay app, as part of a greater initiative to boost the number of Google Pay users. Other nitty-gritty details of Google’s Project Cache haven’t been worked out yet, such as whether or not the accounts will charge the standard fees common to most checking accounts.
In the run up to the Pixel 4 launch, our Stephen Hall shared a rumor, which we considered “dubious” at the time, which somewhat lines up with what we now know to be Google Cache.
This could be a competitor to Apple Card via some bank partnership. Or, it could be a rebirth of the ye ol' Google Wallet card for modern Google Pay. I don't know which. pic.twitter.com/n3tC8FyuXP
— Stephen Hall (@hallstephenj) September 6, 2019
Google has worked with both CitiGroup and Stanford in the past, bringing support for credit cards from both to Google Pay. Unlike the Apple Card, which somewhat masks its involvement with Goldman Sachs as its banking partner, Google will reportedly put CitiGroup and Stanford front and center as the primary branding, not Google’s own brand. Google executive Caesar Sengupta spoke with WSJ on the matter, explaining Google’s decision.
Our approach is going to be to partner deeply with banks and the financial system. It may be the slightly longer path, but it’s more sustainable.
Just like many of Google’s other initiatives, one of the goals behind offering checking accounts with “Cache” is to collect more information. By connecting directly with your checking account, the company can have a pretty decent idea how much money you make, where you tend to shop, and what bills you pay each month.
As with Google’s recently exposed entry into healthcare data, Project Nightingale, the company will most certainly need to give account for what they’re doing with that data. Already, Google has committed to not sell any data related to Cache accounts. Similarly, the company does not use data from Google Pay for advertising, nor do they share that info with advertisers.
More on Google Pay:
- Borderless banking service TransferWise gains Google Pay support
- Google Pay support comes to the combo-card system Curve
- Google Pay gains support for Cubic transit cards, including San Francisco’s Clipper cards
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