Google has moved further into the field of financial services information enrichment with the launch of a free mortgage calculator which lets consumers compare mortgages from different finance firms.
The free service – available in the Google browser – provides a further example of the role technology giants such as Google are carving out in the finance sector.
Information enrichment, where IT platforms can help consumers select finance products, has become big business – as with Comparethemarket.com.
“Our service is free to you but, to operate this service, we are compensated by the mortgage providers,” said Google.
Google’s compare page offers consumers information about savings accounts, credit cards, current accounts and car insurance.
The UK government has asked interested parties for their thoughts on opening up application programming interfaces (APIs) to increase competition.
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Financial technology marches on
When announcing the call for evidence, City Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “Key to our long-term economic plan is making Britain the global centre for financial technology – or 'FinTech' – and innovation. Making it easier for customers to use their data in more effective or creative ways can help achieve this, and we think the benefits and opportunities for customers could be huge.
"Greater use of data could help customers by letting them know whether they could save money by moving their bank account.
"It is also about making banks work harder to win customers’ business through enabling new providers to enter the market more freely.”
Greater competition in banking is more likely if there are independent advisories pitting banks against each other, supported by easy account switching.
In its Why Google Bank Won’t Happen report, analyst firm 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 Forrester analyst, Oliwia Berdak in the research..
Other financial services from Google include, a mobile wallet and a service that allows people to make payments using Gmail.