Google Pay’s New Updates Turn it Into a One-Stop Financial Hub

Google is adding budget tracking, coupons, money transfers, and more to its flagship payments app.

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Need to Know

  • Google Pay has a new update that integrates payments, personal finance, and retail coupons.
  • Through the new Pay, Explore, and Insights tabs, Google Pay users can send and split payments, search for coupons and promo codes from their favorite retailers, and view and track their spending.
  • Google is also launching a new digital-first bank, called Plex, which will operate exclusively through the Pay app.
  • This update is the latest in a number of post-pandemic initiatives the tech giant has launched to serve an increasingly contact-less world. 

Analysis

Google Pay has updated its mobile wallet and through three main tabs—Pay, Explore, and Insights—the newly redesigned experience offers a holistic view of the user’s finances. 

While the original Google Pay was centered around credit card payments, the updated version combines payments and insights so users can better understand their spending habits. 

Using the Pay tab, users can pay bills, send money, and view past transactions. They can also split payments with groups, view their loyalty cards from brands like Costco, and even order food and pay for gas without ever leaving the app. 

The Explore tab lets users search for promo codes and coupons from major restaurants, retailers, and brands like Burger King or Target. Users can load an offer to their account and redeem when paying in-store or online. Using integrated Google Lens technology, users can also scan QR codes and barcodes to access more information about a product. 

Finally, the Insights tab tracks user spending and allows you to search for transactions, using categories like “food”. You can also search for receipts and receive alerts about upcoming bills. 

Google Pay works by connecting to your bank accounts and credit cards to pull information from there. 

But Google is also partnering with 11 banks to launch a new bank account, called Plex, that will be accessed exclusively through Google Pay. Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union are tapped as Plex’s launch partners. 

Other banks that are reported to be joining Plex include Bank Mobile, BBVA USA, BMO Harris, Coastal Community Bank, First Independence Bank, and SEFCU.

Citi itself has selected Mastercard as its Citi Plex account partner. With a Citi Plex account, “customers will receive a debit Mastercard, an auto-provisioned instant digital debit card, with an option upon request for a contactless-enabled, physical debit Mastercard with access to Citi’s nationwide network of over 60,000 fee-free ATMs, the most offered by any major bank.”

The launch of a new app and another digital-first bank account comes among a sort-of digital revolution in the financial services industry, accelerated by the pandemic and growing need for contactless service. 

“The consumer migration to digital banking was well underway and then the pandemic hit, turning the consumer’s desire for digital interactions into a need,” said Meredith Spatz, EVP in North America for Mastercard. “The acceleration of the move to digital has also opened the door for more collaborative work amongst technology and financial players—to drive new and enhanced solutions for consumers that not only address their need for digital interactions but also deliver new capabilities that give them increased control and insight over their personal financial management.”

Google has launched a number of post-pandemic initiatives to make life easier for users in recent months. 

Just this week, the tech giant added more COVID-related updates to Google Maps, encouraging safer travel decisions prior to the holiday season. To support retail businesses operating primarily online, Google launched shoppable email through its Gmail app. And last month, Google updated Maps to support delivery and ride-share drivers, including the ability to customize routes and locate the nearest delivery driver for couriered packages. 

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