Google will offer checking accounts next year

Companies as gigantic as Apple and Google are always looking for new markets to dominate. Financial services are no different.

And it looks like Google is looking to make another leap into this area, this time with something that’s even easier to commoditize.¬†The Wall¬†Street Journal has the report this week, based on confirmation from Google itself, that the company is going to launch checking accounts sometime in 2020.

To make this happen Google is going to be partnering up with a small Stanford University credit union and the much larger Citigroup. And in each case, Google says that the new checking accounts will be branded very clearly that they are coming from these establishments. As such, both the credit union and Citigroup will be handling the regulatory compliance and financial backend.

According to Google’s Caesar Sengupta, this is a way to get people to “do more stuff in a digital way online”. Sengupta says that the new program, which is going under the “Project Cache” at Google, could offer easy access to loyalty cards in the future as well.

The original report notes what should probably be the most obvious: checking accounts grant access to basically a blank check of personal financial data. It can show companies like Google just how much a person earns, and give the company even more data regarding consumer spending.

Now, Google does say that it won’t be using any of the data it does collect from these checking accounts to propel any advertising services. It adds that it already avoids linking financial data to advertisements through its mobile payment option, Google Pay, and that will continue to be the case with this new push into additional financial services options.

But these companies that are treading into financial services beyond their own mobile payment options will have to carry the burden that potentially comes along with them. For instance, Apple is inevitably tied to any and all mistakes that Goldman Sachs makes with the Apple-branded Apple Card, a truth Apple is forced to live with as the banking establishment is currently being investigated for gender discrimination regarding credit decisions for the credit card.

Google already relies on data from its customers basically across the board, so the move to a checking account isn’t all that surprising. Still, it will be interesting to see just how many customers actually sign up for something like this. If Google is able to stick to its launch plans, we will find out starting sometime next year.

Are you wanting to sign up for a Google checking account?