- Google is partnering with BBVA to offer Americans a digital bank account Â using Google Pay.
- Itâ€™ll be a co-branded, fully insured bank launching in 2021.
- Google will provide the interface.
Googleâ€™s foray into digital banking has started in earnest, if not quite how you might have expected.
BBVA has announced that itâ€™s working with Google to offer digital bank accounts in the US through Google Pay sometime in 2021. Google will handle the interface, including â€œfinancial insights,â€� while BBVA will provide the infrastructure. The bank will be co-branded, BBVA said.
Itâ€™s not certain how this bank would work, although it would have FDIC insurance. Existing all-digital banks often let you manage virtually everything from an app on your phone, but have their limitations if you need to withdraw cash, handle checks, or get support.
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The BBVA deal is somewhat surprising when initial reports had Google partnering with Citigroup for US accounts. Itâ€™s not certain if Citi is still involved. This remains a big step for Google, however, and will test whether or not Google Pay can serve as a financial hub, not just a way to buy groceries or speed up your online shopping.
Google is reportedly exploring the prospect of offering a debit card through Pay, although it would be tied to an existing bank account rather than one with official branding.
Much like Apple Card and Samsungâ€™s debit card, this is as much about protecting a core business as it is venturing into new territory. While it could be very convenient to access your bank account directly from Google Pay, youâ€™ll also have to keep using Google Pay on your phone (and thus Android) if you want the full experience. That could keep you from switching to an iPhone or a competing digital bank, if just for convenienceâ€™s sake.