Google will offer checking accounts, says it won’t sell the data

Yolanda Curtis
November 14, 2019

Citigroup Inc. and a California credit union are the tech giant's initial partners for the venture, which will enable users to access their bank accounts through the Google Pay app beginning next year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The details of the accounts have not been finalized. With the checking accounts, consumers will be able to receive their paychecks and make transactions exclusively inside the Google ecosystem. Apple this summer launched a credit card that all US iPhone users are eligible to apply for.

Consumers increasingly expect the same type of experience from banks as they get from Apple or Google and big tech is undoubtably going to be in financial services in some way, independently or by partnership, Donovan believes.

Each, in turn, is likely to stoke fears of consumers and regulators alike that technology companies are gathering too much information on their consumers.

The partnership is a bit of a shift for Citigroup, which has been relying on marketing its digital bank accounts to existing customers in its sprawling credit card business.

Of course, one of the biggest concerns with Google becoming your bank of choice is data collection.

However, Google executive Caesar Sengupta tells the WSJ that the firm will not sell customers' financial data.

The checking account initiative will reportedly emphasize the partner banks' brands, though Google may offer services such as loyalty programs to complement the accounts, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on Google's plans Wednesday.

"High-tech companies are experts at data exploitation and monetization", said Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, which generally pushes for tighter banking regulation.

The consulting firm McKinsey & Company found only 58% of people surveyed said they would trust the company with financial products.

But unspecified advertisers outside of Google are not the only concern.

Google did not return a request for comment, but Citigroup confirmed to CBS MoneyWatch it was partnering with Google on the accounts.

Google has spent years building out its payments capabilities, offering consumers the ability to send money to friends and check out both online and in stores through Google Pay.

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