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Google Card on the cards: Is Apple Card rival launching soon?

Google is seemingly developing its own payments card for users.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | April 18, 2020 | Updated 14:23 IST
Google Card (Source: TechCrunch)

Highlights

  • Google could be making a Google Card.
  • It will be tied closely with the Google Pay app.
  • The Google Card will take on the Apple Card.

When Apple launched the Apple Card last year, it was particular about dipping its toes into the business beyond smartphones and providing its loyalists with as many Apple-branded products as possible. Now, Google is apparently walking in Apple's footsteps as it is said to be developing its own virtual and debit cards. Called the Google Card, the payments card will let customers make purchases on stores. Additionally, the associated bank account and the virtual card will allow purchases using the mobile phone or net banking. Google is reportedly partnering CITI and Stanford Federal Credit Union for its payments card service.

The Google Card, which folks at TechCrunch claimed to have seen in images, will become the "foundation" of the Google Pay app. Currently, Google Pay app allows customers to link their cards and bank accounts to pay using NFC on their eligible phone. In India, Google Pay app, previously known as Google Tez, has the UPI facility prominent, along with support for bank-to-bank transfer, however, without the NFC support. But the integration of Google's own debit card will bolster the company's hopes to foray into the fintech space. Apple has already joined the fintech realm in collaboration with Goldman Sachs for the Apple Card -- and the Google Card could emerge as a strong competition to it.

The TechCrunch report cites multiple sources who have confirmed Google's plans for its fintech venture. Much like Apple, Google could tap into a high-stakes sector of personal finances to generate more revenue that will not be directly tied to its phone business. Google's phone business is not something the company has emphasised when it talks about its fight with rivals such as Apple. Google could begin charging an interchange fee on the purchases made using the Google Card or the associated bank account, which could eventually be split between Google and bank partners, the report has stated. Google's payments service could spread its legs further into becoming a one-stop solution for personal banking, stock brokerage service, robo-advising on the stock market, insurance, and money lending.

While the payments service seems a potential cash cow for Google, it could open up more revenue streams that might come under scanner from the analysts. Depending on the privacy policy of the payments service, Google could collect user data based on the monetary transactions to "improve ad campaign measurement". The tech company could, then, leverage this data to entice advertisers who will be more than willing to obtain the trove of people's personal expenditure information for targeted advertising. Google already keeps a good record of what each of its users is doing on the Internet and that might include online payments done via the company's payments service in future.

For its payments card, Google could initially feature payments on the Visa network but Mastercard could be roped in later. The Google Card could also use PIN or fingerprint authentication for payments or fund transfers, the report has added. It will be thoroughly connected to the Google Pay account of the user, so that all the transactions are logged properly and that the data remains comprehensive. The card could also be used for in-app payments or for the apps on the Play store.

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