Eric Zeman / Android Authority
- Google has confirmed previously announced plans to launch a Google Pay bank account have been canceled.
- Google first announced plans for bank accounts known as “Plex” in August 2020.
- The report claims that Google Pay’s new leader didn’t want established banks to think it was competing with them.
If you had your heart set on having Google be in complete charge of your money, prepare for some disappointing news. The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Google Pay’s plans to launch a digital-only bank account called “Plex” have been canceled.
Rumors about Google starting its own bank account began hitting the internet nearly two years ago, in November 2019. In August 2020, the bank BBCA USA announced it was collaborating with Google to launch an FDIC-insured digital account. Finally, in November 2020, Google, alongside the launch of the revamped Google Pay app, announced the launch of a waitlist to sign up for the Plex bank accounts, either through Citigroup or SFCU.
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The plan for Plex was for Google to offer checking and saving accounts via 11 banks and credit unions. The Google Pay app would allow users to have easier ways to save for big events. The accounts would have had no monthly fees, overdraft charges, or minimum balances. There were even plans to offer a Google Plex debit card.
However, none of this is going to 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 plans for the Plex bank account could lead to issues with other established banks, who might think Google was trying to directly compete with them. A Google spokesperson didn’t confirm this series of events to the WSJ, stating simply that it would now work on “delivering digital enablement for banks and other financial services providers rather than us serving as the provider of these services.”
However, there is evidence that the Google Pay division has also been suffering from lots of recent departures. This has been happening since the November 2020 revamp of the app which was not greeted with good reviews. Business Insider reported back in August 2021 that Google Pay’s previous leader (and the person who spearheaded the launch of Plex) Caesar Sengupta, departed in April 2021. Since then, dozens of other major Google Pay team members have reportedly left as well.
The WSJ report also got a statement from Citigroup confirming its involvement in Plex bank accounts had ended. It also oddly mentioned that prior to Google’s cancelation decision, Citigroup had over 400,000 people signed up for its Plex waiting list, with as many as 10,000 people still signing up each week. That seems to show that a Google Pay Plex account might have been a popular choice for consumers. Indeed, a Forbes article quotes a study conducted earlier in 2021 by Cornerstone Advisors and Strategy Corps. It says that one in five users would have opened a Google Pay Plex account had it officially launched. Also, 33% of current Google Pay and Apple Pay users would have opened such an account.