Google Adds Debit Cards to Wallet Service

by Matt Klassen on November 21, 2013

As Google struggles to get the consumer market interested in its NFC tap-and-pay Google Wallet system, the company has had to find other ways to increase adoption of its service. To that end, Google has broadened the scope of its Wallet platform, becoming just a little more like your bank by offering debit card services as well.

Simply put, Google’s payment platform now gives users who have a verified bank account with Wallet the chance to apply for a physical debit card, one backed by MasterCard that will be linked to one’s Google Wallet account. From there it functions just like any other debit card, useable in physical and online markets and to withdraw cash.

What’s strange about all this is while Google waits for its economic revolution to take hold—what’s taking NFC technology so long anyways?—the company has decided to take a distinctly more conventional tack. If you can’t beat the big banks and credit card companies, well heck, just become one yourself.

With the adoption of the entire gamut of NFC-related services—most notably the still forthcoming mobile payment revolution—virtually stalled, its no wonder companies who have already invested in NFC-fuelled services are looking for other ways to stay relevant. In fact, given the glacially slow adoption rate of NFC, perhaps one could say that Apple wasn’t so crazy after all to simply bypass the mobile payment revolution entirely.

As one of those companies who have invested heavily in the mobile payment revolution, Google is working hard to make sure its Wallet service doesn’t become obsolete, particularly if there is still a mobile payment revolution to come.

The card itself is easy to get. Once users have met the aforementioned requirements for Google’s new service, the company will contact them via the Google Wallet mobile app to let them know they are eligible for the card. The card will take 10 to 12 business days to arrive; following which users will activate it online. The card itself uses one’s Wallet PIN, the same one users setup on the mobile app, and the card has a $5,000 limit every 24 hours.

But one has to wonder if Google Wallet is popular enough to even attract those interested in a debit card, as I doubt there are many who have replaced their bank accounts will Google Wallet, leading me to believe that there are few who would need or want a Google debit card. But again, with NFC going nowhere, what choice did Google have?

So perhaps it’s not such a crazy idea to see Google evolving into a company that actually exists in the physical world, instead of one that seems to stay almost exclusively in the realm of the digital. But do we really want a search engine that operates like a bank? As Google continues to expand the purview of its services it seems to me to be drawing ever closer to the company that will wrest away control of our lives, like some futuristic Terminator-esque Skynet…but I digress.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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