Eric Zeman / Android Authority
- Google has confirmed that previously announced plans to set up a Google Pay bank account have been canceled.
- Google first announced plans for bank accounts called “Plex” in August 2020.
- The report claims that the new leader in Google Pay didn’t want incumbent banks to think it was competing with them.
If you want to have Google manage your money entirely, be prepared for disappointing news. The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Google Pay’s plans to create a digital-only bank account called “Plex” have been canceled.
Rumors about the opening of their own bank account by Google surfaced almost two years ago, in November 2019. In August 2020, the BBCA USA bank announced that it was partnering with Google to open an FDIC-insured digital account. Finally, in November 2020, in addition to the launch of the revised Google Pay app, Google announced the introduction of a waiting list to sign up for the Plex bank accounts either via Citigroup or SFCU.
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The plan for Plex was for Google to offer checking and savings accounts through 11 banks and credit unions. The Google Pay app would make it easier for users to save for large events. The accounts would have had no monthly fees, overdraft fees, or minimum balance. There were even plans to offer a Google Plex debit card.
However, none of this will happen.
What happened to the Google banking system?
The WSJ article stated that the current head of Google Pay, Bill Ready, was concerned that the Plex bank account plans could cause problems with other established banks that may think Google is trying to compete directly with them . A Google spokesman did not confirm this series of events to the WSJ and merely stated that it would now be a matter of “providing digital capabilities for banks and other financial service providers instead of us acting as providers of these services”.
However, there is evidence that the Google Pay division has also been suffering from a lot of departures lately. This has been happening since the revision of the app in November 2020, which was not greeted with good reviews. Business Insider reported back in August 2021 that Caesar Sengupta, the former head of Google Pay (and the person who led the launch of Plex), left in April 2021. Since then, dozens of other key Google Pay team members have also reportedly left.
The WSJ report also received a statement from Citigroup confirming that their stake in Plex bank accounts had ended. Oddly enough, it was also mentioned that prior to Google’s cancellation decision, Citigroup had over 400,000 people signed up for their Plex waiting list, with up to 10,000 people still signing up each week. That seems to indicate that a Google Pay Plex account might have been a popular choice for consumers. In fact, a Forbes article cites a study conducted by Cornerstone Advisors and Strategy Corps in early 2021. It is said that one in five users would have opened a Google Pay Plex account if it had been officially launched. 33% of current Google Pay and Apple Pay users would also have opened such an account.