Once considered an industry joke, this statement is slowly becoming a reality. Recent reports highlighted that Google in partnership with CITI and Stanford Federal Credit Union is testing its own Google-branded smart debit card (a Visa card which will expand to other payment processors like MasterCard) that will help customers make and track purchases made online and in stores.
This move into the fintech space is not exactly new to the brand as Google launched a Wallet debit card in 2013 as an extension of its old payment app Google Wallet but shut the card down in 2016. However, there may be better chances of success this time, considering the following- Apples’ success with its credit card, people’s acceptance of software companies offering payment services and Google’s vast access to data which could allow it to accurately manage risks more efficiently than traditional financial institutions.
Google is experimenting in the checking account space according to the Wall Street Journal’s Peter Rudegeair and Liz Hoffman: “We’re exploring how we can partner with banks and credit unions in the US to offer smart checking accounts through Google Pay, helping their customers benefit from useful insights and budgeting tools, while keeping money in an FDIC or NCUA-insured account.”
With the debit card, users are able to add money or transfer funds out of their account from their connected Google app and use a fingerprint and PIN for account security. Once connected to their bank or credit union account, users could pay for purchases in retail stores with a physical Google debit card or with contactless payments by just holding it up to a card reader. A virtual version of the card that lives on a user’s phone can also be used for Bluetooth mobile payment and a virtual number can be used for online or in-app payments.
(READ MORE: Google building its own debit card)
This development from Google could be the beginning of a clear cut relationship with financial service providers and its customers seeing as the Big tech company already has a deep connection to consumers via apps, ads, search and with the Android operating system giving it more than a few ways to promote as well as integrate financial services. People around the world are being a lot more concerned about their finances amid the covid-19 pandemic, a debit card with more transparency and controls could be welcomed.
Big Tech companies eventually evolve into finance but why?
- Every company strives to better serve their consumers. Acknowledging this need and leveraging platform strategies through the integration of data, analytics and delivery platforms reduces friction and expands potential markets beyond what used to be the norm which could be considered more appealing to these consumers.
- These companies have a better chance of generating revenue from their transition into finance without actually becoming banks. Like with Google, they have just added banking and financial services without the headache of getting or maintaining a banking license, instead they will operate with already licensed partners CITI and Stanford Federal Credit Union.
- Big tech could and probably already deliver financial services better, they have the reliable infrastructure and the personalized data to back them after all, giving room to offer lower-cost or possibly free services, since they could use big data obtained through these services for a variety of other businesses.
Worthy of note is how tech in itself is under scrutiny now more than ever, as hackers and cybercriminals create havoc during this time of crisis. If tech companies strive for success and want to avoid the strict regulations and potential political intervention that comes with banking, they should consider the following.
- Pricing: Success in transition may be dependent on setting the right price on all sides of the new business model and building momentum through incentives that can scale easily.
- Trust is imperative when transitioning into finances. Consumers generally question anything and everything that concerns their finances.
- Building platforms in low margin businesses: The frequency of usage will determine your level of profits but it could be a vital element in ensuring success. Financial service providers who have low margins can find relief by offering higher-margin services beyond traditional banking products.
Tech Roundup S02E20
Discussion with an entrepreneur who has been using Tech to drive distribution of African Music. Demola Ogundele is the Founder of Notjustok.com
This week, we had a discussion with an entrepreneur, who has been using Tech to drive distribution of African Music.
Demola Ogundele is the Founder of Notjustok.com, a platform he started as a music blog over a decade ago. He has grown the company to be the leading African music repository and has had to change the business model to compete in this Tech age where big Tech firms like Amazon, Google and Apple actively distribute music including African and Nigerian songs.
Watch other episodes of Tech Roundup
During the discussion, we discussed the progress the company has made since inception and how he views the music industry post-covid. This episode is different and we hope you enjoy it.
Facebook takes on Zoom with its new video chat feature
Video-calling services have seen a sharp rise during the coronavirus pandemic with options like Zoom and its daily active users growing to 300 million.
Virtual Meetings have exploded in recent months with the Coronavirus outbreak forcing people to start working and socializing from home. Video-calling services have seen a sharp rise during the coronavirus pandemic with options like Zoom and its daily active users growing to 300 million in April.
Another popular option, the Houseparty, owned by Fortnite-maker Epic Games has been downloaded more than two million times as at the beginning of March and other apps, such as Microsoft Teams, offer premium features for free.
With the current trend and the need to meet the demands of teleconferencing, Facebook is jumping into video chat game with its product feature, Messenger Rooms, a new feature that will allow up to 50 people to take part in a video chat, even if they don’t have Facebook accounts.
Facebook has had a long and notorious history of expanding its features to emulate major competitors, from first launching stories on Instagram in 2016 as a clone of Snapchat. Now Facebook wants more of the video market and is trying to take on the now popular video sharing platform, Zoom (ZM).
Previously, the messenger video calls were limited to eight people but with this new video feature ‘Messenger Rooms,’ users can currently host a meeting with up 50 people at once with no time limit on its messenger app, it will also be added to the company’s other applications- WhatsApp will see that the maximum number of people who can simultaneously join a video call will increase from four to eight.
This new feature will be available on beta versions of WhatsApp for both Android and iOS. For making a video call with up to eight people, your WhatsApp must be running version 2.20.133 on Android and version 18.104.22.168 on iOS. The other condition is, the other participants that you’re looking to video and voice call, must also have the same beta version of WhatsApp running on their devices.
What’s the Catch?
Although these Messenger Rooms won’t be completely private, WhatsApp video and voice calls with up to eight people, will be end-to-end encrypted so no one else can view or listen in on private conversations, not even Facebook. Basically, end-to-end encryption is one of the main Unique Selling Points (USP) of the new video feature. Facebook is working to bring the security protocol to Messenger and Instagram Direct, so users will potentially be able to cross-platform chat across all these services one day, it’s easier said than done.
Like house party, the messenger rooms will let people drop in and out of the group video chats while the “room” is open just the way people have the ability to bump into each other in the physical world. Another catch of the new video feature is that users can create a Messenger Room that will be able to keep their room private, block unwanted participants, and send invitations to people who are not on Facebook.
Facebook is working to prevent the reoccurring issues its competitor’s faced like the “Zoombombing problem,” which let uninvited guests drop into video calls to abuse participants or share pornography. The company is working with cryptographers to make the links for the Messenger Rooms difficult for hackers to guess. Although, publicly discoverable rooms will be listed at the top of the Facebook news feed and chats will not be end-to-end encrypted. Possibly, this would be one of the reasons why Facebook may successfully take on Zoom with its security and end-to-end encrypted tactics.
Other features of the new video feature include:
- The ability to add eight people to a WhatsApp video call – up from four.
- The return of “Live With”, which lets users host Facebook Live streams with another person, to bring guests or performers on to their show.
- The ability to watch Instagram live videos on desktop computers.
- Participants will be able to use augmented reality filters and change their background in real-time.
Tech Roundup S02E19
The Nigeria tech space has seen major validation from global investors over the last few years, and reports
We conclude our Fintech Roundtable series, this time with a discussion on Fintech related investments.
The Nigeria tech space has seen major validation from global investors over the last few years, and reports show that over $400 million went into Fintech startups in 2019, and amid Covid-19, Nigeria based Fintechs have announced new rounds of investment this year but will this trend continue.
To help us unpack this, this panel discussion was led by Deji Sasegbon, Director of Platforms at EchoVC and a returning guest on
We covered several topics but focused on what investors might be doing differently going forward and how Investments in Fintech ideas and businesses across Africa might be impacted going forward.
Hope you find the episode interesting.