Google adds another string to financial services bow

Google has moved further into financial services with the launch of a car insurance comparison website in the US

Google has added another string to its financial services bow with the launch of a car insurance comparison website in the US, not long after introducing a service that compares mortgages.

Google Compare for Auto is available in California and is expected to be rolled out across the US.

This is yet another example of the information enrichment services that technology giants such as Google are providing in the finance sector. Information enrichment, where IT platforms can help consumers select finance products, has become big business – as demonstrated by Comparethemarket.com.

“Whether it’s buying the right car insurance or finding the best credit card, people want an easy way to understand and compare financial products online,” said Google. 

“In fact, when it comes to buying car insurance, 80% of drivers think they’d find a better policy if they could compare more than two providers. That’s why we’re introducing Google Compare for car insurance in California, with more states to follow. This represents the newest addition to a suite of Google Compare products designed to help people make confident, more informed financial decisions,” it said.

Users can proceed from the search to complete the purchase online.

In February, Google launched a free mortgage calculator which helps consumers compare mortgages from different finance firms.

Building benefits of data in financial services

The UK government wants companies to develop this type of service for UK consumers. It has asked interested parties for their thoughts on opening up application programming interfaces (APIs) to increase competition.

When announcing the call for evidence, city minister Andrea Leadsom said: "Greater use of data could help customers by letting them know whether they could save money by moving their bank account."

Greater competition in banking is more likely if there are independent advisories pitting banks against each other, supported by easy account switching.

Read more about Google and financial services

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. 

Financial services from Google

But it doesn’t end there for Google. The firm is expected to launch a payments API for Android Pay at its I/O conference in May. The API will allow developers to add mobile payments to their apps to enable in-store and in-app payments, reported website Ars Technica.

Google recently said it is working with US telcos to boost its mobile wallet app Google Wallet, which will come pre-installed on Android phones sold by US telcos AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile US and Verizon Wireless. The internet giant has also acquired technology and intellectual property from Softcard, the mobile software company owned by the three telcos.

It recently announced the UK availability of a service that allows people to make payments using Gmail, 18 months after its US launch.

Read more on IT for financial services

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