Google Just Killed Its Banking Service Before It Even Launched

Google Just Killed Its Banking Service Before It Even Launched
You can still pay for things with Google Pay, but you can't open a bank account. (Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo)

Google has a reputation for killing its products and this time the company has shut down a service that hasn’t even gotten off the ground yet. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has abandoned its plan to let you open and manage a bank account through Google Pay.

The search giant had announced the feature about two years ago, after Apple launched its credit card and Facebook jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon.

The service was initially called Cache, later renamed to Plex. The program was expected to sync with Google Pay and offer a digital dashboard of where you spend your money. It would also feature built-in savings goals to help you set aside cash. Google had partnered with Citigroup and Stanford Federal Credit Union, which it chose because many of its employees bank there. But details about the checking accounts were slim, and Google hadn’t even decided if they would charge fees.

Plex was supposed to launch in 2020, but the pandemic kept pushing back the timeline. Then after a series of missed deadlines and an exit from the Google employee tasked with the project, Google decided to drop the offering entirely. A reported 400,000 people were on Citigroup’s waiting list for Plex accounts.

A Google spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that the company would focus on “delivering digital enablement for banks and other financial services providers rather than us serving as the provider of these services.”

It’s unlikely that this is the end of Google’s personal finance ambitions, as analysts expect the fintech industry to continue growing in the next few years. Google has a big platform with Google Pay, which remains the default contactless payment app on Android smartphones. You can also use Google Pay to pay online through supported stores.