Google Taps BMO, BBVA, and More for Digital Banking Pilot

Google will control the front-end while the banks will maintain oversight of consumer accounts.

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Need to Know

  • Google has signed six new banks onto its initiative that will see the tech giant roll out chequing and savings accounts for Google Pay users.
  • The new banks added to the platform are Bank Mobile, BBVA USA, BMO Harris, Coastal Community Bank, First Independence Bank, and SEFCU.
  • With its foray into finance, Google will provide the consumer-facing front end while the accounts themselves will be held by banking partners.
  • Google will offer banks co-branding and plans to add more institutions over time.

Analysis

Google is beginning to reveal details about its move into finance, revealing this week that it has partnered with six major U.S. banks for chequing and savings accounts.

The accounts, which will be available to Google Pay users, will be offered by Google in partnership with Bank Mobile, BBVA USA, BMO Harris, Coastal Community Bank, First Independence Bank, and SEFCU. Google will host the consumer-facing front end for the accounts, while the banks themselves will hold the accounts.

“We had confirmed earlier that we are exploring how we can partner with banks and credit unions in the U.S. to offer digital bank 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,” a Google spokesperson said of the new partnerships. “We are excited that six new banks have signed up to offer digital checking and savings.”

The Wall Street Journal had reported that Google was entering the banking arena late last year, writing at the time that the finance project was known internally as “Project Cache”; Google had previously revealed partnerships with Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union. The company joins other tech giants like Apple and Samsung in its effort to provide one-stop banking and financial management, all available through a mobile app, as consumers gravitate towards more unconventional, digitally focused, and intuitive banking options, and away from traditional brick-and-mortar institutions.

Google is differentiating itself with its Google Pay financial offerings, giving its partnering banks strong co-branding. The company also plans to work with a wide roster of financial institutions, from large banks to credit unions, with the goal of hosting a diverse set of options and products that will, therefore, appeal to a broad customer base.

Indeed, BankMobile, a division of Pennsylvania-based Customers Bank, is particularly popular with college-age students: it serves about a third of U.S. college-bound students through relationships with 800 campuses across the country—an example of Google selecting a diverse roster of financial institutions that serve particular financial needs. Luvleen Sidhu, BankMobile’s founder and CEO, said the Google partnership will help students who “are struggling to manage their money as they work part-time and attend school.”

“Through our collaboration with Google, we believe we can provide these students with the appropriate financial tools to help them navigate through these difficult situations successfully,” she added.

In addition, Google Pay allows businesses to connect directly to their customers’ underlying bank accounts and enables consumers to more accurately and consistently manage their spending and budgeting through real-time, value-added financial management services that analyze individual spending patterns and financial goals.

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