For a while there a physical Google Wallet card seemed like the stuff of rumors, and then it looked like another project lost to the ages when former Wallet chief Osama Bedier (who purportedly pushed the concept) officially resigned from his post earlier this year. Larry Page’s disapproval of the card after a buggy pre-launch demo certainly didn’t help the project’s chances either.
But here we are, months later, and Google has gone ahead with the project anyway. The folks at Droid-Life spotted the updated Google support entry first, which allows Google Wallet users to order their own physical Wallet cards – that first batch is expected to hit doorsteps in under two weeks.
Don’t expect Google to be getting into the lending and collections game (but hell, could you imagine?) – this card is a purely prepaid affair, affording its users access to the funds that are currently stored in their Google Wallets. At first glance it doesn’t seem like a game-changer considering most of the particulars will be familiar to anyone who already owns a debit card, but there are some neat Googlean touches here. According to a newly-posted article on Google’s Commerce blog, there’s a distinct lack of service fees tied to using the card, and users will get instant notifications on their phones when they’ve made a purchase (just like Simple).
So sure, if you have a Google Wallet account and it’s got a few dollars ferreted away in it, there’s really no reason not to get one. While it may be a low-risk action for you though, the card provides plenty of value to the folks in Mountain View – an earlier report from AllThingsD painted Google’s push into a more physical payment scheme as a way to gather more consumer purchasing data to help power its gigantic online advertising business.
Author: Chris Velazco (TechCrunch)