#BigTech / Google Fires Next Salvo in Big Tech’s War on Banking

Google has loosed a double-barreled challenge on the financial services business. First, the big tech announced major advancements in functionality for its Google Pay digital wallet. Second, it simultaneously revealed more details about its partnership expansion with banks and credit unions, which now has a name: Plex By Google Pay.

Taken together, the expanded Google Pay and Plex represent a major financial platform play that clarifies Google’s near-term interests in the financial services business. The common element of the moves, overall, is to bring consumers greater financial management capability with a minimum of pain and a maximum of simplicity.

Essentially, the new Google Pay is an expanded, reimagined version of the company’s wallet in which many payment services can be accessed. Google Plex will be a way for participating financial institutions to offer a combined check and savings account in a mobile-first configuration that will rely on the institution’s dedicated Plex product using a Google user experience. Plex accounts, which will have both common and institution-specific features, will plug into Google Pay only, and not be available through other companies’ e-wallets nor on their own apps.

[Digital transformation expert Jim Marous:] “Google Plex is taking almost everything that is available from fintech firms and digital-only banks and putting it under one mobile roof… Over the last several years, many in the industry joked about the ‘Bank of Google’ or ‘Amazon Bank’ – well, it’s here. And as projected, they have taken the best of what Google can do — hyper personalization — and are deploying it as the front-end relationship building platform using an increasing number of traditional financial institutions as the rails… This will be the way that Apple and potentially Amazon will build their financial platform in the future.”