Google has teamed up with a variety of banks to launch PLEX, the first mobile-first bank account. Here’s everything you need to know…
Google just unveiled the brand new Google Pay. The new version of the app features loads of new stuff, but the really exciting stuff – its PLEX account – isn’t coming until 2021.
Today we’re taking an important step forward in our quest to make money simple, secure and helpful. Starting in the U.S., we’re launching a redesigned Google Pay app on Android and iOS. The new app is designed around your relationships with people and businesses. It helps you save money and gives you insights into your spending. It’s built with multiple layers of security to keep your money and information private and safe. And in 2021, it will give you the chance to apply for a new kind of digital bank account with trusted financial institutions – Google.
But what is PLEX? How do you get a PLEX account? And will PLEX succeed where Google Wallet failed? Let’s investigate all of this and more below…
What is a PLEX Account?
A PLEX account is essentially the same as a bank account, accept here your PLEX bank account will live inside Google Pay. If you’re in the US, you can now apply for a PLEX account with Citi Bank and SFCU, although Google has confirmed it is working with 11 other major banks on this initiative.
What makes PLEX different from a standard bank account? Well, the first thing is that is completely mobile-first. Your PLEX account will live on your phone, inside the Google Pay app.
The second thing is that there are no fees for joining, no minimum balance requirements, no overdraft charges, and no monthly fees. Think of it as a bit like MONZO, just owned and controlled by Google.
PLEX Account Benefits
One of the core functionalities of PLEX is the way it integrates with Google Pay. Because your PLEX account will be seamlessly linked to Google Pay, Google’s AI will be able to monitor your transactions and spending habits and provide insight and information on your spending patterns and ways you can improve things.
Of course, you’ll have to be comfortable with Google having access to your financial data. This shouldn’t be of concern, though, plenty of apps – apps like Plum – already do much the same.
On the subject of Plum, an AI-powered money management app, I’ve managed to secret away almost £300 in several months using that app. I’ve even been adding funds to a Vanguard account too. And it’s all done by AI, so I haven’t had to lift a finger.
I don’t think PLEX will be quite as sophisticated as this, but at least it has something to aim for once it is out on the market in 2021.
PLEX Account Features
Google hasn’t unveiled PLEX just yet, merely confirmed it is coming next year. Details are currently pretty thin on the ground. But we do know a few things about how PLEX will function, such as some of its core benefits.
7 Cool Things You Can Do With A PLEX Account
#1 – Easy To Open Accounts
Opening a PLEX account will be simple. Anyone will be able to do it. You apply online, enter your details, and BOOM, you have a PLEX account. It’s meant to be that simple. And I hope it is in practice.
#2 – No Monthly Fees
A lot of banks charge “management fees” to run an account with them. Google isn’t doing this with PLEX. Like most of Google’s SaaS products, PLEX will be 100% free to use. No management fees, no monthly charges. Nice!
#3 – AI-Driven Money Saving Tips
Once you have a PLEX account, you’ll be able to connect it to Google Pay, and once you do this Google’s AI will be able to seamlessly work across both accounts, providing you with detailed, actionable tips of how your spending your money and where you can make savings.
#4 – Digital & Physical Debit Cards
All PLEX accounts will come with a digital debit card, which will live inside Google Pay. Users will be able to request a physical debit card too. And you know that debit card will look super cool too!
#5 – Real-Time Balance 24/7
With a PLEX account, you’ll be able to quickly check your account 24/7 in real-time. Everything will update on the second, so if you’re watching or waiting for payments, as soon as they’re paid or cleared your account will show the changes instantly.
#6 – P2P Payments
PLEX has built-in functions for one-time, recurring, and group payments as standard. You will be able to view all of your payments and subscriptions inside Google Pay, broken up into Groups, Businesses, and Friends and Family.
#7 – Citi Bank ATM Support
With a PLEX account, you will be able to take cash out via Citi Bank’s 60,000 nation-wide ATMs. Handy if you like handling cash or spend a lot of time in strip clubs.
If you want to apply for a PLEX account, you can do so here – please note the service isn’t launching until 2021 though!
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.