TechCrunch has published imagery that shows what could be Google's physical and virtual debit cards.
According to the report, the "Google Card?" and associated checking account will allow users to buy things with a card, mobile phone or online. It is said to connect to a Google app with new features that let users monitor purchases, check their balance or lock their account. The card is expected to be co-branded with different bank partners, including CITI and Stanford Federal Credit Union.
Users will be able to add money or transfer funds out of their account from the connected Google app, which is likely to be Google Pay, and use a fingerprint and PIN for account security.
Here is what Google told TechCrunch:
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.
Once connected to their bank or credit union account, users could pay for purchases in retail stores with a physical Google debit card, including with contactless payments, by just holding it up to a card reader. A virtual version of the card could also be used for Bluetooth mobile payments, online or in-app payments.
A Google Pay app and a card could help Google rival Apple Pay and the Apple Card. Currently, Google Pay only allows online and peer-to-peer payments by connecting a traditionally issued payment card.
A smart debit card could give Google access to valuable transaction data on what people buy. This data could be used to improve ad campaign measurement or even targeting.
In any case, data is always valuable for Google, since it comes from many different sources -- apps, ads, search and the Android operating system. Combined together and processed, that data could be used by Google in order to provide even financial services in the near future.
In addition, Google could potentially charge interchange fees on purchases made with the card or other checking account fees.