Tech giant Google is looking to take the big, and perhaps controversial, step into the banking sphere by offering checking accounts in 2020.
The service is currently codenamed “Cache” and will reportedly be run by Citigroup and Stanford Federal Credit Union. Distancing itself from recent size-and-scale questions, Google will reportedly not sell the data of customers who start new checking accounts.
“If we can help more people do more stuff in a digital way online, it’s good for the internet and good for us,” said Caesar Sengupta, Google’s VP of product management.
The Wall Street Journal reported that “Google will leave the financial plumbing and compliance to the banks.”
Google follows in the footsteps of Apple, Amazon, and others in their plans to enter finance. Apple recently launched its own credit card, known simply as the “Apple Card.” Last year, Amazon was said to be in talks with J.P. Morgan about creating its own checking account. Most recently, Facebook announced plans for a service that would allow payments to be conducted across its various platforms.
These movements have not been without concerns and pushback from Capitol Hill.
“I’m concerned when we got — whether it’s [Facebook’s cryptocurrency] Libra or the Google proposal around banking — where we have these giant tech platforms entering into new fields before there are some regulatory rules of the road,” Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, a leading champion of Big Tech regulations, said Wednesday on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “Because once they get in, the ability to extract them out is going to be virtually impossible.”
Warner added that there should be “very strict scrutiny” about recent acquisitions from Big Tech companies like Google because of concerns over protecting data and consumer transparency.