Google is in talks to acquire Tokyo-based cashless payment provider pring according to Nikkei. The deal could enable Google to offer financial services of its own rather than being reliant on partner banks and credit card companies.
Pring is currently owned by Mizuho Bank, along with a number of investors and Google is reportedly set to pay between $180m and $270m for all of the company's shares.
The cashless payment market in Japan is in a relatively immature state compared to other countries where there has been wider adoption of alternative payment methods. Japanese consumers have been slow to embrace cashless payments, which suggests that the market has plenty of room for expansion. The entry of Google will intensify competition in the sector, where other technology players have already seen opportunities.
Japan's share of cashless payment in retail transactions was just under 30% in 2020, compared with 70-90% in South Korea and China.
Google Pay partnerships
Pring currently provides payments, cash transfers, and withdrawals via smartphones and computers to its clients. It also has over 400 corporate customers who use the service to make small payments to other business owners or offer reimbursements to customers.
Google Pay has operated in Japan since 2015, but it operates in partnership with major credit and prepaid card brands. By having pring and its network, Google will be able to operate financial services on its own, rather than on behalf of those partners.
Google is expected to roll out banking services within Google Pay in the US later this year, in partnership with Citigroup and other financial institutions. After the "Plex" banking feature rolls out, you'll be able to create a digital-only bank account from Android phones within minutes. Once your account has been set up, you will be able to send money to your friends and family from your new account through the Google Pay app.