Google has decided not to replace traditional debit cards and checking accounts after all.
The company announced in November 2020 that Citibank, BBVA, and other banks would offer new Plex apps built upon—and heavily integrated with—its Google Pay offerings. These apps were supposed to start reaching consumers who signed up for early access sometime in 2021.
But those apps never arrived. Now The Wall Street Journal has reported that “a series of missed deadlines, along with the April departure of the Google Pay executive who championed the project, prompted Google to pull the plug on Plex” before it was ever actually introduced.
Google told the Journal that its plan is to focus on “delivering digital enablement for banks and other financial services providers rather than us serving as the provider of these services.” It’s not clear what that “digital enablement” will look like; we’ve asked Google for more information.
The decision to scrap the project was said to have come as a surprise to some of Google’s partners—BM Technologies reportedly said on Sept. 27 that it expected its Plex accounts to debut in 2021 or 2022—and the company still hasn’t officially announced the cancellation.
Not that any of this really comes as a surprise. Google has a reputation for cancelling products and services, often with little or no warning, to the extent that a website is dedicated to tracking all of these projects. Now that site’s operators will have one more thing to add to the list.