The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is looking to expand into finance, with a Citi-backed checking service.
Code-named “Cache,” the service is expected to roll out next year, and is just the latest in a string of efforts by tech companies to branch out into finance. Apple made headlines with Apple Card, Facebook is working on its Libra cryptocurrency and Amazon has been investigating the possibility of offering its own checking account.
Google seems intent on maintaining good relations with banks and customers alike, something both Apple and Facebook have struggled with. Facebook faced enough political backlash to scare off backers of its Libra currency, while Apple upset its partner, Goldman Sachs, by downplaying the bank’s involvement.
Despite its intentions, Google faces challenges of its own, not the least of which is a perception that it does not protect user privacy. Following a revelation that Google was collecting the records of millions of patients through its partnership with the Ascension healthcare group, the Department of Health and Human Services is planning on launching an inquiry. In view of that, analysts are already predicting that Congress will fight Google’s foray into banking.
If Congress doesn’t prevent Google from launching it’s service, customers will be able to access their checking account through Google Pay. While Google Pay is set to reach 100 million users in 2020, a Google checking account will likely skyrocket those numbers even higher.