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Google will offer checking accounts as latest tech company to enter finance

Google is the latest tech company to enter the financial world by offering checking accounts starting next year.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google’s financial project, dubbed as Cache, would have accounts run by Citigroup. The financial institutions would be the main focus on Google’s Cache, rather than Google creating its own, separate financial brand.

“Our approach is going to be to partner deeply with banks and the financial system,” Google executive Caesar Sengupta said to the Wall Street Journal. “It may be the slightly longer path, but it’s more sustainable.”

Google’s Cache project would reportedly include loyalty programs. Google told the Journal that it wouldn’t sell checking account users’ financial data and that it doesn’t use the data from the already established Google Pay for advertising or marketing purposes.

According to reports, federal regulators are already looking into whether Google has an unfair advantage in the financial realm, given its other products like search, home speakers, Google suite, and more.

Federal regulators have been wary about big tech companies entering into the financial market, such as Facebook with its proposed cryptocurrency, known as Libra. There’s been a bipartisan consensus that Facebook having a currency is a bad idea, with both Republicans and Democrats attacking the plan since its inception in the summer.

Beyond lawmakers, many of Libra’s initial partners appear uncertain about the cryptocurrency’s chances. In October, PayPal decided to end its participation in the Libra Association following regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers in both the U.S. and Europe. Visa, Mastercard, eBay, Stripe, and Argentine e-commerce giant Mercado Pago all pulled out of the project shortly after that.

Facebook also recently announced a separate payment system known as Facebook Pay. The payment system is meant to make in-app purchases, transfer payments from person to person, and make purchases on select Facebook pages or businesses, as well as on Facebook Marketplace.

Still, other tech companies are proving that finance and tech can be successful if done right. Apple’s credit card has received positive reviews since its debut in August, thanks to its instant cash-back rewards system, the easy application process, security features, and accessibility.

Digital Trends reached out to Google for more information on the Cache project, and we’ll update this story if we hear back.

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