- Google unveiled its revamped Google Pay app during a virtual event Wednesday, with new features that allow users to pay friends, track and manage budgets, and receive insights on their spending.
- The tech giant also revealed an expanded portfolio of partner banks that have signed on to offer co-branded bank accounts in 2021. Google said the new version of the Google Pay app will allow users to open the "Plex" checking and savings accounts through its partner banks and credit unions.
- Green Dot, Seattle Bank and The Harbor Bank of Maryland are the newest banks to sign up as Google partners, joining Citi, Stanford Federal Credit Union, BankMobile, BBVA USA, BMO Harris, Coastal Community Bank, First Independence Bank and SEFCU, growing the group's total to 11 institutions.
With a redesigned app and an expanded network of banks that have signed on to offer Plex accounts, Google continues its push into the consumer financial services space.
During Wednesday's event, Caesar Sengupta, general manager of payments at Google, said Plex is built on federal checking and savings accounts and will combine "the best of Google's design and technology ... with the financial expertise and regulatory experience of our banking partners."
Sengupta also highlighted the diversity of the institutions that have signed on to offer Plex accounts.
"These partners operate in diverse communities across the country and will help make Plex accounts available on Google Pay right in your phone, wherever you are," he said. "Each of them will bring their own unique strengths and capabilities to bear so everyone can choose the Plex account that works best for them."
Citi's incoming CEO, Jane Fraser, called the bank's Plex account "a new way to bank" during an appearance in the virtual event.
"Customer needs are changing, and a whole new generation is looking for a fresh, relevant and better relationship with their money," she said.
Citi, whose branch presence is slighter than most big banks, stands to benefit from Google's reach, as the tie-up could help the bank draw more customers without having to expand its branch network.
"Google brings the Google experience, which is really unique, and its technology capabilities, as well as nationwide access to a large group of customers," Anand Selva, who heads Citi's consumer bank, said during CB Insights' virtual Future of Fintech conference Monday.
The Plex accounts could also appeal to a younger generation of banking customers, especially those who have not yet opened bank accounts, said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.
"Digital is the future of banking, and growing a bank's customer base requires meeting them where they are," McBride said. "Banks and credit unions integrating with Google Pay will appeal to young adults and those without an existing banking relationship."