Published: Thu, November 14, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Google partners Citi on checking account

Google partners Citi on checking account

Google plans to start offering checking accounts to consumers next year. Google Pay, which already has tens of millions of users around the world, is already popular in India. Last year, Amazon said it was in talks with banks to allow its users to have checking accounts.

Big tech companies have been pushing into other arenas such as finance and health care to gain more access to consumer data.

Each, in turn, is likely to stoke fears of consumers and regulators alike that technology companies are gathering too much information on their consumers. Google says it's also intending to offer product advantages for both consumers and banks, including things like loyalty programs, on top of the basic financial services.

Warner told CNBC in an interview on Wednesday his concern was that tech giants like Facebook or Google were entering new fields before there were some regulatory rules of the road in place.

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"We're exploring how we can partner with banks and credit unions in the offer smart checking accounts through Google Pay, helping their customers benefit from useful insights and budgeting tools", Google said in an emailed statement, adding that the accounts will carry federally guaranteed insurance. (NASDAQ: AAPL) advertised its new credit card as "designed by Apple, not a bank". Consumer checking accounts aren't a cash cow, but the data Google gets from that daily spending could be invaluable.

"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 Google checking account wouldn't actually be run by Google. According to Sengupta, the company is still deciding on whether it will charge service fees.

A representative for Alphabet Inc.'s Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, and Citigroup declined to comment. "This agreement has the potential to expand the reach and breadth of our customer base while complementing our continued investments in digital, particularly our market leading Citi Mobile app".

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