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Google pulls plug on plan for mobile banking in Pay app

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Google has ended work on its Plex project, but continues to eye ways to integrate financial services, it said./AFP
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Oct 02, 2021 - 06:42 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — Google has hit the brakes on a project to add mobile banking to its Pay app, even as the online financial services market for everyday investors heats up.

The company has ended work on its Plex project, but continues to eye ways to integrate financial services, a spokesperson said Friday confirming a Wall Street Journal report.

Plex would have allowed the Pay app to act as an interface for banks or credit unions, allowing users to access their savings and checking accounts.

Google development of the project came as a number of internet firms, from Amazon and PayPal to Square and Robinhood, have been riding a trend of providing financial tools for shopping, borrowing or investing online.

“We’re updating our approach to focus primarily on delivering digital enablement for banks and other financial service providers rather than us serving as provider of these services,” the spokesperson said in response to an AFP inquiry.

“We strongly believe that this is the best way for Google to help consumers gain better access to financial services.”

Google said late last year that it was working with nearly a dozen credit unions and banks, including Citigroup, for inclusion in its Plex project for its Pay mobile app available on Android smartphones.

The Pay app allows users to pay for transactions, send money to friends, and store loyalty cards, among other advantages.

About 400,000 people had registered on a waiting list for Plex, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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