Google discontinues its plan for Google-Pay based banking service

The WSJ reported that Bill Ready, who runs Google’s eCommerce operations, “was concerned that Plex could make other banks think that Google was out to compete with them since it played a lead role in building the product.”

Alphabet Inc. has pulled the plug on its Plex service which was announced with Citibank and several other financial institutions in November last year and would have supposedly offered banking services directly to users, according to reports by Wall Street Journal. 

According to the reports, the project was called off due to a “series of missed deadlines.” The WSJ had also claimed that the Google Pay executive overseeing this project had also left the company earlier this year. All these reasons have been cited as the possible reason for Google “abandoning plans to pitch bank accounts to its users.”

The WSJ reported that Bill Ready, who runs Google’s eCommerce operations, “was concerned that Plex could make other banks think that Google was out to compete with them since it played a lead role in building the product.”

The Plex service, operating as a plug-in on the tech giant’s Google pay app, was initially pitched as an easy mobile-first financial service that would partner with banks and financial institutions and allow users to open checking and savings accounts with no monthly fees, overdraft charges or minimum balance requirements. Other functions such as applying for physical debit cards were also part of the service. 

Citigroup, Stanford Federal Credit Union and Mastercard were some of the companies on course to partner with Google for Plex, while the names of 11 other companies remained unannounced. The wait-list of the people who had already signed up for the service prior to launch had reportedly crossed 400,000. 

In an e-mail on Friday with CNBC, a Google spokesperson elaborated on the matter, stating  “Our work with our partners has made it extremely clear that there’s consumer demand for simple, seamless and secure digital payments for online and in-store transactions.”

Discussing Google’s plans for the future in the financial sector, the spokesperson said, “We’re updating our approach to focus primarily on delivering digital enablement for banks and other financial services providers rather than us serving as the provider of these services.”

Meanwhile, a Citibank spokesperson has told Wall Street Journal that it plans to recommend other accounts to over 400,000 people who had already signed up for the Plex waiting list.

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