After reviving Google Pay in November of last year, Google made an announcement today that is sure to turn some heads in the fintech space. The two most relevant elements in today’s news release are new shopping options and spending insights.
To offer new shopping options, Google has partnered with Safeway and Target to help users browse weekly deals on groceries at Safeway and Target locations from within the Google Pay app. The app will enable shoppers to save their favorite items to purchase at a later date. Soon, users will be able to turn on push notifications to see deals from 500 Safeway stores and nationwide Target stores when they are nearby (if they have location services enabled).
The additional embedded shopping tools bring added stickiness to the app. However, Google will need to offer shopping experiences at more than just two stores to truly capture users’ attention.
Google Pay’s new spending insights tool comes a bit closer to what consumers may expect to see at their traditional bank. Via the Insights tab, users can see their account balance, view upcoming bill reminders, analyze weekly spend summaries, and receive alerts when large transactions are made. Under the Insights umbrella, Google also made it easy for users to view transactions by merchant or by category.
While the new spending insights may prove to be useful to shoppers, without more robust budgeting, planning, and forecasting tools Google Pay is unlikely to win consumers over from their traditional bank.
In today’s release, Google also added two more cities in which travelers can pay for transit. Via an integration with Token Transit, users in the San Francisco Bay area and Chicago can purchase and use mobile transit tickets through the Google Pay app. The two new cities join the list of 80 cities and towns across the U.S. that already offer travelers transit purchasing capabilities via Google Pay.
Regardless of the shortcomings of today’s new features, both banks and fintechs should be wary of Google Pay’s next moves. The app’s embedded finance capabilities, including grocery shopping and added transit ticket purchasing, are a signal of what is to come. Similarly, if Google Pay continues to add more personal financial management tools, such as budgeting and retirement planning, consumers may want to spend more time within the Google Pay environment and less time in their traditional banks’ app.