Google enters European payments market


Andrea Barnes
Andrea is Communications Manager at FXcompared. Prior to joining FXcompared, she worked as a communications consultant for companies seeking guidance with their social media, marketing and digital… Read more
  • Google just got its payments licence in Ireland, a month after the Bank of Lithuania granted the same authorisation to the company
  • Details about the project are scarce as of this time but observers note that the licence is likely going to allow the brand to expand its financial services
  • Google Pay is still available

Google is venturing into the European paytech market and now has a payments licence in Ireland. According to the register at the Central Bank of Ireland, the company has been granted an authorisation to operate in the country’s payments market pursuant to Regulation No. 18 of the European Union Regulations 2018. Reports say that this regulation is under Payments Services Directive 2.

Despite the excitement about the announcement, Google has not yet revealed the details of its licence, the financial services that it will be providing and whether it will offer affordable overseas transfer rates or not. Google being on the Irish central bank’s register only confirms that the search engine brand can issue and acquire payment transactions.

It has been noted by Fintech Futures that Google has been working hard to get into Europe’s paytech space. In December 2018, the company was granted an electronic money institution licence in Lithuania. The Bank of Lithuania said that Google has the authorisation to redeem and issue money sent electronically. The company‘s Lithuanian licence also allows it to provide payment services to its customers.

There is no confirmation if users will be able to transfer money internationally through Google as expansion goals have not yet been revealed. There is no news if Google is interested in getting a piece of the remittance market either. However, observers note that it might follow Facebook’s footsteps. Facebook’s rumoured entry into the remittance industry has gotten Facebook users excited, according to reports. Google’s move to get a licence in Ireland comes two years after social networking site Facebook was granted an e-money licence from the national bank

According to Fintech Futures, Google is launching the product in the region to ensure smooth operation of its own marketplaces. The tech giant currently offers financial services through Google Pay but the digital wallet is “limited”. The Irish Times noted that obtaining the licence it received from the central bank will make it possible for the company to expand its services.

“We are constantly working to support our customers in Europe. We have applied for a payment licence in Ireland as part of these efforts, in addition to ongoing discussions relating to projects all around Europe”, said a spokesperson for Google Ireland.

In a 2018 interview with The Irish Times, Google’s Head of Commerce Partnerships in Europe Florence Diss said that they do not have any intention to go head to head with banks. Diss added that the company wants to work with banks to explore opportunities set under Payment Service Directive 2.

A number of well-known brands have been venturing into the finance market in recent times. Amazon, for example, is rumoured to be working on expanding its financial services. Competition is fierce though as brick and mortar banks are not the only ones who want a piece of the pie. Fintechs such as Starling, Transferwise, N26, Monzo and Revolut were all granted full banking licences from Lithuania’s central bank.

Find out more about the newest developments in the paytech sector here.


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