Google has just been authorised as a payment institution in the Republic. And this is an interesting turn of events for the search engine giant, as this would pave the way for it to begin providing new financial services to consumers and businesses both here and further afield, as reported by WeRSM.
The Central Bank reportedly gave authorisation to Google Payment Ireland under the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) regulation, which all took place on Christmas Eve. Having acquired the said authorisation, the firm will be given the authority to issue and acquire payments across the European Union under passporting rights.
The move comes two years after Facebook acquired an e-money licence from the Central Bank. It also follows on from the granting of a full e-money licence to Google from the Bank of Lithuania late last month which allows it to issue and redeem electronic money, as well as provide payment services.
Currently, Google is only able to offers limited financial services through its Google Pay digital wallet, which is available for use in Ireland. That is why this change brings massive potential to the company as a whole. To put it simply, obtaining the different licences could enable the tech giant to significantly expand on this.
It should be noted, however, that the e-money license will not allow Google to offer full banking services. The latter, in particular, can be likened to bank accounts, loans, or mortgages. So what exactly does it offer? Basically, it will provide companies the ability to store and transfer money electronically.
Up until now, Google Pay is only capable to enabling its customers to store card details in their digital wallets. These wallets, in particular, can be utilized to make purchases online or through an app. It also allows them to use their mobile devices as payment methods in-store.
Lithuania, which one of the countries to join the EU in 2004 , is currently issuing e-money licenses in only three months. Since then, the country has granted 39 so far; hence, it is deemed second in the EU to the UK which has granted 128 licenses so far. This reflects the country’s efforts in the last years to actively develop “a fintech-conducive ecosystem.”
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.
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.
In related news, the search engine giant has reportedly ramped up the “double Irish, Dutch sandwich” tax-avoidance trick before the loophole is finally closed by the State next year.
In the official report, the company shifted €19.9 billion in 2017 through a Dutch shell company and on to the tax haven of Bermuda. This was further explained in the documents filed a few days before Christmas with the Dutch chamber of commerce.
As the Republic is the linchpin of its international operations, it is fair to assume that most the cash shifted to Bermuda emanated from Google’s operations here. The sum shifted in 2017 was about €4 billion more than the prior year.