Report: Google to Release Its Own Smart Debit Card

Report: Google to Release Its Own Smart Debit Card

Google’s existing Google Pay systems allows its users to conduct online and P2P payments by adding a physical debit card. By adding the Google Card along with their Google Pay offerings, the company will put itself in prime position to take over the financial services space.

Google Card vs Apple Card

As per a report by TechCrunch, Google is testing out a new smart debit card that will enable its users to make purchases with the card, mobile phone, or online.  The card connects to a Google app with new features that allow its users to check their balance and monitor purchases in real-time. In the event of theft or a lost card, users will be able to lock up the card and their checking accounts through the Google Pay app. While the card is initially going to be a Visa, there are plans to expand to other payment processors, like Mastercard, soon.

Comparisons with Apple Card are going to be inevitable. Both of these cards are designed to work as a physical card and a tap-to-pay digital card on a phone. Plus, they will both offer a separate virtual card number for use with online retailers. Having said that, both of these cards differ from each other in one fundamental aspect – Apple Card is a pure credit card, while Google’s is going to be a debit card. 

Google’s Entrance Into the Financial Services Space

It looks like Google is going to leverage Google Card and Google Pay to become a leader in the financial services sector. Google Pay is immensely popular and allows one to conduct online and peer-to-peer payments by adding a physical debit card. Google Pay can be used to make a variety of purchases and has been adopted by several businesses, especially in the subcontinental region

Adding a debit card will allow Google to: 

  • Gain valuable insights into consumer spending.
  • Unlock new streams of revenue and data.
  • Potentially charge interchange fees on purchases made with the card or other checking account fees and split them with their banking partners. 

Along with these, Google’s inimitable access to data will give it an unfair advantage in managing risk more accurately than traditional financial institutions. Google already has a huge userbase who are deeply connected to it via apps, ads, search, and the Android operating system. This gives them several integration points for their financial services.  In the long-term, Google can leverage its position to offer other financial services such as banking, stock brokerage, financial advice, robo-advising, accounting, insurance, or lending.

Google’s Statement to TechCrunch

When TechCrunch reached out to Google for a confirmation about the card, Google didn’t dispute the findings and offered the following statement:

“We’re exploring how we can partner with banks and credit unions in the US to offer smart checking accounts through Google Pay, helping their customers benefit from useful insights and budgeting tools while keeping their money in an FDIC or NCUA-insured account. Our lead partners today are Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union, and we look forward to sharing more details in the coming months.”

As already mentioned above, Apple Card has already entered the market with its Goldman Sachs-backed, aesthetically pleasing titanium Mastercard credit card. Following a botched 2018 launch due to ineligible insurance, Robinhood relaunched its checking accounts in October 2019 with debit card withdrawals from 75,000 ATMs. While Google may be a late market mover in this space, their considerable resources and userbase may push them into the pole position in the near future.

Do you think Google has what it takes to take over the financial services space, or are they a little too late to the party? Will the smart debit card be a success or will it join Google+, Orkut and Google Wave as the latest in the company’s list of failed projects? Do let us know in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Twitter.

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