Straits Herald November 12, 2019

Google plans to launch a checking account service next year in a collaboration with Citigroup and a credit union in Silicon Valley, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

In a project code named Cache, Google is working on a system that will host checking accounts clearly bearing the brands of the financial institutions, which will handle security and regulatory compliance issues, according to the Journal report.

The report quoted a Google executive as saying the company’s approach “is going to be to partner deeply with banks and the financial system” in what might be seen as a longer but safer route.

The move would come as internet titans become increasingly involved in online financial transactions and e-commerce.

Apple and Google both offer digital wallets that can be used on smartphones to pay for purchases online or in real-world shops.

Apple also recently released a credit card.

Amazon has been reported to be in talks with banks about creating a checking account service.

Meanwhile, Facebook has been steadily building up e-commerce tools at the social network as well as the ability to send money using its messaging apps such as WhatsApp.

Facebook has gone a major step further, releasing controversial plans for a global cryptocurrency called Libra.

Facebook had originally hoped to roll out Libra next year, but has met fierce resistance from regulators and governments who see it as a threat to their monetary sovereignty.

The social media giant’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg last month opened the door to scaling back plans for Libra if it cannot win approval as a new currency for global exchanges.

Zuckerberg told US lawmakers on October 23 that the goal of Libra was “to build a global payment system rather than a currency”. – AFP