What does Google's EU payments authorisation mean to consumers, businesses and the company itself?

Google received its EU payments authorisation via Ireland’s central bank but which will allow  the tech giant to provide  financial services across Europe.

Google can now issue and acquire payments across the EU under passporting rights. It currently offers financial services through the Google Wallet, but the authorisation must mean more Google financial services are on the way.

But what will this mean for consumers, businesses and Google itself? It has always been accepted that Google will work with banks and the like with services to support them and that Google Bank would not materialise. But this could change and authorisations from regulators could fuel this.

A few years ago in its Why Google Bank Won’t Happen report, Forrester said the high costs and strict regulation of setting up a traditional bank – alongside advertising revenue coming from banks – will push internet firms into roles that support the relationship between banks and their customers. These include transactional payment services, financial advice, money management and product comparisons. “[Google] will be by integrating digital assets such as its search engine, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Play, and Google Now that Google could redefine financial services. Thanks to these capabilities, Google is well positioned to disrupt four interlinked areas, disintermediating incumbents in the process,” said the research.

Google is always held up as the ultimate fintech with Google bank a concept that has been extensively covered and the authorisation of Google could signal major disruption for existing suppliers.

Google reportedly said of the payments authorisation in Ireland: “We are constantly working to support our customers in Europe. We have applied for a payment licence in Ireland as part of these efforts, in addition to ongoing discussions relating to projects all around Europe.”

I am going to write an analysis and I hope to dig into what Google could do, but I would like to ask the question first and invite people to comment. Please leave your comments below and get a debate going.

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“Google’s move into payments could be the first step. It is likely that more tech giants will follow in Google’s footsteps and gradually move into processing payments. The reasons why tech giants might make this move are numerous, for example, they will be entering a profitable and fast-growing industry; they will be able to leverage their large customer bases who (in most cases) trust them; they will be able to extend the services and products that they already deliver to their customers. In addition,  they’ll be able to switch to push payments and cut out the high credit card fees they currently face for getting paid, which could result in lower volumes of card payments being accepted by online merchants and tech giants.

 

This is an exciting time for the payments industry as the tech giants fight for customer attention with the incumbents - they have the added advantage of knowing where consumers live, work and play.”

 

Marcus Hughes, Director of Business Development, Bottomline Technologies

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