Why Big Tech Is Getting Into Finance

(upbeat music)

– [Narrator] Big Tech has
its eyes set on your wallet.

Apple has a credit card.

Facebook is trying to
introduce its own currency.

And Google has plans to
offer checking accounts

to users of its digital wallet in 2020.

You can do a lot with
a wallet in your phone,

like boarding a train or.

(electronic ding)

So tech firms are offering services

that are usually associated with banks,

but they’re doing it differently.

– It’s really about data.

When a company like Apple or Google

processes a payment for you, they find out

a lot about you.

They know what you bought,
where you bought it,

what time of the day or
what day of the month

you’re likely to spend money,

and that’s really valuable
information for advertisers.

– [Narrator] Also, banking is another way

for tech firms to draw customers

further into their universes.

– So Facebook started out as a way

to talk to your friends,
and then became a place

you shared baby photos
with your grandparents.

And now you can shop
on Facebook properties,

you can message, Instagram, WhatsApp.

Amazon is the same way.

It started out as a big store,

and now they make home speakers,

they make original movies
and television shows.

So these companies all
started off with one thing

and they’re adding more things around it

and finance is kind of the last frontier.

– [Narrator] As more people
change their banking habits,

tech companies say they can
bring something to the table.

Google says it will build helpful tools

while relying on partnerships

to navigate the financial world.

For its part, Apple
promises to eliminate fees

for its credit card, and
give you cashback instantly.

And the Apple Pay app will have charts

that help users track their buying habits.

Meanwhile, the Facebook-backed
Libra Association

says that using a blockchain
to process transactions

could make cross-border
payments cheaper and faster.

The company says its planned
cryptocurrency, Libra,

could provide banking services
for billions of people.

That plan has faced headwinds.

Several early partners
dropped from the project

and US Fed chairman Jerome
Powell raised concerns

with the plan, saying that Facebook’s size

could make Libra immediately,
systemically important.

That size is on display
in the other services too.

According to projects
from Juniper Research,

Google Pay is on track
to have 100 million users

worldwide in 2020.

By that time, Apple Pay
could have 227 million users.

Both would be huge increases from 2018.

– These tech companies
are already really big

and some regulators think too big.

Several US regulatory bodies

already have antitrust
investigations into Google,

Apple, Facebook and other big companies.

– [Narrator] Their push into banking

could sharpen those concerns.

And public trust is an issue too.

A poll from McKinsey and Company suggests

that a slight majority of respondents

would trust Google and Apple
to handle their finances,

but Facebook fared less well.

– Some people are already wary

of giving tech companies
access to their location

and their photos.

Financial data is just way more personal.

– [Narrator] More concerns
over privacy and power

will be on display as tech
firms get into finance.

The data are valuable, and increasingly

they’re in the hands of
a few tech companies.

(upbeat music)

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