Google Payment has received an e-money license to operate in the European Union, paving the way to expand its financial services into the area.
In its bid to provide European customers with financial services, Google Payment has now been granted an e-money license by the Lithuanian central bank. The move opens up many opportunities for Google to be able to offer e-money issuance, payment processing, and services related to electronic money wallets across the European Union. It also means that Google is joining an increasing number of “fintech” firms who have sought similar licenses from Lithuania to offer financial services in Europe.
The e-money license will not allow Google to offer full banking services like bank accounts, loans, or mortgages. It will, however, allow companies to store and transfer money electronically. Up until now, Google Pay allowed its customers to store card details in their digital wallets, which, they can use to make purchases online or through an app. It also allows them to use their mobile devices as payment methods in-store.
Lithuania – one of the countries to join the EU in 2004 – is currently issuing e-money licenses in only three months, and has granted 39 so far, making it second in the EU to the UK which has granted 128 licenses so far. This reflects Lithuania’s efforts in the last years to actively develop “a fintech-conducive ecosystem.”
While many tech companies are seeking to expand into financial services, Google is now one of the last to be granted its e-money license. Facebook has a permit in Ireland, while Amazon and Paypal have theirs from Luxembourg.
Google’s current e-money efforts centre around Google Pay, the unified payment solution formed in January from the merger of Google Wallet and Android Pay, and which it has upgraded with several features like integration into Messages, NFC payments and P2P transfers, as well as payment for travel and other things like movie tickets. In August, the company rebranded Tez into Google Pay as well.
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