Google will allow users to access digital bank accounts through its mobile wallet

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Alphabet Inc. will soon allow customers to apply for digital bank accounts through its Google Pay wallet as the internet giant dives deeper into financial technology.

Google said on Wednesday that starting in 2021, consumers will be able to get digital bank accounts, which it calls “Plex” accounts, from Google Pay. These accounts will be offered by 11 banks and credit unions to start with, and users will be able to get both checking and savings accounts with no monthly fees, minimum balance requirements, or overdraft fees. The company said in a blog post that users can currently sign up for a waitlist for Plex accounts with Citi and the Stanford Federal Credit Union.

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Bankrate’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride noted in a statement that Google doesn’t actually offer the accounts, but instead partners with existing financial institutions. “Integrating banks and credit unions with Google Pay will appeal to young adults and those who don’t have an existing banking relationship,” he said.

The announcement is part of a larger list of Google Pay wallet upgrades, including a way to see transactions in a “conversational view” that shows payments to a group of friends or to a particular retailer on separate screens. The company will also allow Google Pay users to earn and view rewards from retailers such as Target Corp. TGT,
+ 2,33%
and Warby Parker in the app, and this will allow people who have linked their bank accounts to the platform to track spending by category, including granular breakdowns, like transactions made at Mexican restaurants.

“One of the reasons why Gmail is so successful is its excellent search capability,” Ted Rossman, industry analyst at Bankrate, said in a statement. “Adding Google’s search expertise to user finances should resonate with consumers who want to better understand their money. ”

Alphabet share GOOG,
-1,32%

GOOGL,
-1,19%
lost 1.2% in Wednesday’s session. They’ve grown 30% so far this year as the S&P 500 SPX,
-1,15%
increased by 10%.

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