Internet search giant Google has hired former PayPal Holdings Inc executive Arnold Goldberg to run its electronic payments division. And thus establish a new course for the business, after ruling out a move into private banking.
This new hire is part of a much larger strategy to tie into a broader range of financial services, including cryptocurrencies and their uses through electronic payment cards, said Bill Ready, Google’s president of commerce. The company, known for its electronic payment system Google Pay, has largely avoided the cryptocurrency industry.
However, these changes follow a major shift in October. Google’s electronic payments department had spent years planning a digital checking and savings service, lining up 11 banking partners for the launch last year. But that month, company management rejected the offer proposal called «Google Plex».
«We are not a bank, we do not intend to be a bank, our goal is to help create connections», Ready said in an interview, after the rejection of the proposal.
Given Google’s dominance of search and other online services, it had long been expected to shake up the world of finance. But he has little to show for his efforts so far. Google Pay gained some popularity in India but struggled elsewhere. It’s far behind Apple Inc’s payment platform, plus Google hasn’t created its own credit card like Apple has.
Google’s efforts to gain ground in the electronic payment market
Even with certain factors against it, Google has a huge consumer reach and balance sheet. The tech giant doesn’t charge fees for transactions with its mobile wallet, and Ready said there are no plans to change that. Google is also working to add more payment features within its shopping services. That will help show users «the full range of financial services that exist», dijo Ready.
Ready, a former PayPal chief operating officer, joined Google in 2019. He began overseeing the electronic payments division last year after an executive departed. He recruited Goldberg, who ran PayPal’s merchant business, to become vice president and general manager of payments and emerging markets efforts. An initiative that Google calls “Next Billion Users”, or NBU.
Google introduced its payment app in 2015 and revamped it in late 2020 as a hub for consumers to track spending and search for discounts. At the time, the company shared that the app had 150 million monthly active users worldwide. But Google’s wallet faces stiff competition, even on devices running its Android operating system. Samsung Electronics Co, the largest seller of smartphones, has its own electronic payment system.
Ready is also promoting Peeyush Ranjan. A veteran engineer who led efforts to expand Google Pay in India, making him general manager of consumer payment services.
Google would enter the market for electronic cryptocurrency cards
As part of the renewals of the company. Google will focus more on being a “comprehensive digital wallet” that will include the ability to store digital tickets, airline passes and vaccination passports, Ready said.
The lack of commissions in Google Pay is part of the same philosophy. The company hopes that enough people find value in its payment services that they continue to search and buy on Google platforms and not on other platforms. “Helping to get more activity on a free and open web, that naturally pays dividends for our business as a whole,” Ready said.
Including digital assets like cryptocurrencies could also help Google attract a large number of users. In the last year, Google has partnered with a number of cryptocurrency companies, including Coinbase, BitPay, Bakkt and Dapper Labs, some with the goal of storing cryptocurrency on Google digital cards, while users continue to pay in fiat currencies. Ready said that Google is looking to do more of these partnerships. However, the company does not yet accept cryptocurrencies for trading on its platforms.
«Cryptocurrencies are something we are paying close attention to. As user demand and merchant demand evolve, we will evolve with it», dijo Ready.
Goldberg, Ready’s new deputy, will take over a position vacated by Caesar Sengupta. A former Google manager who left the company last year. Sengupta has since formed a new fintech company, Arbo Works.
Finally, Ready added that the payment division “is growing in a very healthy way and at a fairly positive rate».