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News: Google teaming up with banks to offer checking accounts

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From WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/next-in-googles-quest-for-consumer-dominancebanking-11573644601

Business Insider link https://www.businessinsider.com/google-banking-citigroup-cache-checking-accounts-atm-2019-11

“Google will soon offer checking accounts to consumers, becoming the latest Silicon Valley heavyweight to push into finance.

The project, code-named Cache, is expected to launch next year with accounts run by Citigroup Inc. and a credit union at Stanford University, a tiny lender in Google’s backyard


Google is setting its sights fairly low. Checking accounts are a commoditized product, and people don’t switch very often. But they contain a treasure trove of information, including how much money people make, where they shop and what bills they pay.

The company will have to convince a public that is increasingly wary of how tech companies are using personal data that it can be trusted with people's finances. Federal regulators are examining whether the user information Google gets from its search engine, home speakers, email service and other apps gives the company an unfair advantage over competitors, the Journal has reported.”

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Related article from MarketWatch https://www.marketwatch.com/story/big-tech-wants-into-your-wallet-so-they-can-get-more-data-like-their-chinese-rivals-2019-11-14

“Technology giants are showing a heightened interest in the financial-services industry as they see Chinese tech companies succeeding in payments, an area that could be lucrative for data collection.

The latest foray into financial services is Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG, +0.39% GOOGL, +0.41%  plans to start offering checking accounts to consumers next year, in a partnership between Google, Citigroup Inc. C, -0.49%  and a credit union. That news followed Facebook Inc.’s FB, -0.74% rebranding of its payments offering, which is separate from its ambitious Libra initiative for payments, and Apple Inc.’s AAPL, -0.72% move into credit cards in a deal with Goldman Sachs while continuing to expand its Apple Pay offering. Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, -0.13%recently announced the addition of bill payments to its expanding set of payment offerings, which extend to other websites beyond its own.

All four of those large tech companies are already under extreme scrutiny from federal and state governments for potential monopolistic actions and accusations of misusing consumer data. Experts said that their willingness to dive headfirst into financial services despite the regulatory spotlight already shining on them is due to the potential rewards on the other side.

“If you know what someone spends money on, you know everything about them,” said James Angel, a finance professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. 

The deepening focus on payments serves multiple purposes for Big Tech players depending on the scopes of their businesses, according to MoffettNathanson analyst Lisa Ellis. For companies focused on commerce, in-house payments capabilities can offer more control over the shopping process—and an additional revenue stream. For ecosystem-oriented companies, management teams are looking to drive user engagement and time spent on their platforms. 

The possibilities are being exhibited every day in China, where tech companies are a routine part of most purchases.

“Maybe, at some level, the broader ambition is they have envy of the Chinese super-apps,” Ellis said. 

Brands like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA, -0.06%  affiliate Ant Financial, which is best known for its Alipay wallet, and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s 700, -2.32%  WeChat offer an array of services within their apps so that consumers can get things like insurance and wealth-management advice without heading to a separate destination. 

“Google and maybe Amazon are trying to replicate a bit of that concept, trying to tuck more day-to-day abilities within that umbrella,” Ellis said”

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17 hours ago, whitehawk said:

Nosy and creepy. Mark my words: they're going to try to sell health insurance next.


Apple might be next. https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-research-iphone-app-participate-in-health-studies-2019-11

From Business Insider

  • Apple rolled out a new app Thursday called "Research," which allows iPhone users to participate in years-long health studies that track data from their phones.
  • The app is currently promoting three open studies on women's health, heart and movement, and hearing.
  • Apple's first health study, published this week, collected data from users and concluded that Apple Watchescan help detect heart problems.

Smartphones and wearable gadgets are capable of gauging an unprecedented amount of health data from users — now, Apple wants to harness that data for medical research.

The new Apple Research app, which rolled out for iPhone users Thursday, lets people sign up to participate in years-long health studies. The studies gauge data ranging from the number of steps a users take to the volume of their headphones and share it with research teams Apple has partnered with.

Apple successfully completed a similar study earlier this year, which tracked data from Apple Watch users. The study was published this week and found that the Apple Watch's sensors are capable of detecting heart problems.

The method of recruiting study participants from a huge pool of iPhone users is unprecedented in the medical field, posing its share of unique benefits and challenges. While Apple's previous study was effective in providing detailed biometric data about a range of subjects, it also faced a high dropout rate — 79% of people selected for the study either didn't complete it or dropped out.”


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