Google is reportedly testing its own Google-branded smart debit card that will help customers make and track purchases made online and in stores, according to a report from TechCrunch.
The project is meant to be a new centerpiece for Google’s existing Google Pay system, which currently only does online and peer-to-peer payments by adding a physical debit card that could be used for a wider variety of purchases. An expanded debit card presence would allow Google to be more useful in keeping track of payments and purchases, as well as provide the company with valuable insight on consumer spending.
Unlike Apple’s own Apple Card — which is a full-blown credit card — the Google project is said to be a debit card, with partners like Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union (the card itself is a Visa card, although Google may expand that to other payment processors like Mastercard, too.) But much like the Apple Card, the Google debit card is designed to work as a physical card and a tap-to-pay digital card on a phone, and it will offer a separate virtual card number for use with online retailers.
Google’s app reportedly will allow customers to easily track purchases (including leveraging tools like Google Maps and its vast database of retailers to contact or navigate a previously visited store.) Customers will also be able to use the Google Pay app to lock their card in the event of theft or loss, or lock the account entirely.
Right now, though, Google’s debit card appears to just be a more convenient (and potentially) more secure face on existing debit card options from banks. TechCrunch’s report doesn’t seem to indicate whether Google will be offering any perks or benefits for using its system, like the Apple Card’s various cash back offers, or even if customers will get any discounts for using the Google-branded cards to purchase Google products and services.
TechCrunch’s report also doesn’t mention when it plans to launch the debit card or if the test will ever get a full consumer release. The company did release a statement to TechCrunch noting, “We’re exploring how we can partner with banks and credit unions in the US to offer smart checking accounts through Google Pay, helping their customers benefit from useful insights and budgeting tools, while keeping their money in an FDIC or NCUA-insured account. Our lead partners today are Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union, and we look forward to sharing more details in the coming months.”