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Summary:

Google’s Wallet Card can be ordered but it won’t help you carry less cards. It’s more like a pre-paid debit card that uses your Google Wallet account balance to pay for things. It’s free, however, Coin’s $50 universal card may be better.

google wallet card

Want a physical Google Wallet card for payments? You can order one directly from Google at no charge. The card with a traditional magnetic stripe is backed by Bankcorp and uses the balance in your Google Wallet account when swiped at the point of sale. So is it a better option than Coin, the hottest new credit card that actually acts as numerous cards? Probably not because of a key limitation.

google wallet card

Essentially, since payments come from your Google Wallet account balance, this card is more like a pre-paid debit card. Google says you can fund your balance with a credit card, but there’s a 2.9 percent transaction fee, so few will likely take advantage of that function. You can also add funds at no charge from a linked bank account.

I’d think the card would be more practical to most people if it worked like the NFC-enabled Google Wallet app. In that case, you can pick which of several cards — debit or credit — are used for transactions. There seems to be no similar option here.

Still, I ordered a Google Wallet card and it should arrive within 12 days so I’ll test it out. My ultimate goal is to carry fewer — if any — payment cards, not more of them. This won’t help me achieve that for now, but perhaps the product will mature over time. After all, the Google Wallet of today isn’t the same as the wireless Google Wallet I used two years ago on my phone when refueling my car. The approach has changed multiple times since then and is now even challenged in the U.S. by Isis.

  1. i agree, imaginary products shouldn’t fear Google Wallet.

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  2. Kevin, with due respect I am not sure that you got the right angle on this one. Having a debit card linked to your Google Wallet balance enables you to use it like a prepaid debit card, yes, and that’s what you can do ALREADY from Google Wallet by your Wallet account balance. So mischief managed. In the meantime Wallet’s balance can send and receive payments to anyone via email. So the debit card is a way to do this without messing with your other accounts when there’s not a tap-to-pay terminal.

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  3. This sort of thing makes perfect sense for two reasons.

    1. insulate your credit card accounts/bank accounts.
    Since you can control how much money is ‘on’ this card, if you lose it or it gets skimmed, the most you could lose would be what is on the card. If you are out and you have your phone with you and you want to spend more than is on the card, you add more using your phone. The question is whether or not the add will be instantaneous or not. The AMEX Serve card (which is a
    similar idea) sits on your money for a week if you transfer funds to the card from a bank account.
    So if this one works in real time it will be very useful.

    2. If you have children and want them to learn how to use plastic money or a checking account.

    This makes much more sense than COIN to me. It also makes much more sense than the original
    supposed Google idea where the card would be a credit card rather than a debit card.

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  4. Thanks for the info about how the card works with other credit cards. This is a huge downside–something that Google probably would like to do, but has a lot of things to do in order to work around the issue. Can’t wait for the card to act as a seamless, passive card which the transaction simply passes through–like Coin.

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  5. This is not correct any longer. Google states that if your Google Wallet balance is $0 then the physical Google Wallet Card will pull from the credit/debit card of your choice..

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    1. Guillaume LACHAUD Monday, December 30, 2013

      No, it still doesn’t work that way

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