Digital-First Banking Is Coming For Your Bank To Google Pay In 2021

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No fewer than eight US banks from BBVA and BMO to Citi and SFCU are going digital-first via Google Pay in 2021. That's based on announcements from the companies, recently reported by 9to5Google. The banks will be offering up accounts directly in the Google Pay app and they'll be responsible for the financial side of the equation. But Google's unit will be responsible for the user experience, the banks say.

According to BBVA, “Google will provide the front-end, intuitive user experiences." That's in addition to "financial insights" handling. That's a sentiment echoed by BMO, alongside hints that Google Pay will also offer built-in budgeting tools for the bank accounts.

Which banks are going to be partnering with Google Pay in 2021?

In Google's own statement on the matter, more details were made available. Not least of all, the company listed out the banks it will be working with. That includes six new banking institutions in addition to Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union. The latter two banks were already confirmed earlier.

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Now, six new banks will be offering 'digital checking and savings' via the search giant's app. That includes BBVA USA and BMO Harris, as noted above. But it also includes Bank Mobile, Coastal Community Bank, First Independence Bank, and SEFCU.

Accounts opened or managed via Google Pay will not only offer up the tools suggested by BBVA and BMO either. The money will be stored in an FDIC or NCUA-insured account. So this will work almost exactly, on that side of things, like a traditional bank account.

Is this going to lead to a new Wallet replacement?

What isn't immediately clear, is whether or not the announcements have anything to do with earlier rumors that Google Pay would gain its own debit cards. Those accounts and cards, sources indicated as early as April, would be competing directly with Apple's Card.

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This wouldn't be the first time Google has gotten into self-branded banking. Or at least self-branded cards associated with money management. The company launched its own Google Wallet card back in November of 2013. That service was dropped in 2016, followed shortly by the end of Google Wallet as an offering altogether.

It seems unlikely that the search giant would go that route here, however.

Although it's still possible that any cards offered by the company would support advanced technological features, as hinted by the banks in question, they won't necessarily bear Google branding. And there's very little chance the company would be able to relaunch its own branded efforts regardless. While associated with the Google Pay app, as the current plan for 2021 stands, these cards are tied directly to specific types of bank accounts from individual banks.

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