Jason Del Rey

Recent Posts by Jason Del Rey

Google to Unveil the Google Wallet Debit Card


It’s not the Google payments card that has long been planned, but Google is set to announce today that it is releasing a Google Wallet debit card that allows people to pay at stores that accept Mastercard using their Google Wallet balance. Cardholders will also be able to withdraw cash from their Wallet account using ATMs.

With the card, Google isn’t going for mass adoption; instead, the card is expected to mainly appeal to a subset of Google Wallet users who have had money transferred to them from another Google Wallet user and don’t want to wait a couple of days for the money to appear in their bank account. Once money lands in someone’s Google Wallet account, it will connect with the debit card almost instantly.

To some people, that instant access to money will now make Google Wallet’s peer-to-peer payments service more attractive than Square Cash, which takes one or two days to deposit funds.

In a blog post, Google said there are no monthly or annual fees associated with the card.

Google has come very close to launching a plastic card in the recent past. In May, my colleague Liz Gannes reported that the company had shelved the launch of a physical card shortly before what some partners were expecting to be a demo of the product at the I/O developer conference. The pullback also coincided with the departure of Google Wallet boss Osama Bedier.

But, last month, Google commerce chief Sridhar Ramaswamy hinted in an interview with AllThingsD that another card product might be in the pipeline.

“Things like prepaid-card programs are pretty standard,” he said at the time. “So, there’s nothing, in theory, wrong with something like that. We’re thinking about it; I would not say it has been ruled out. But we have to make sure that we create the right consumer experience. It has to work overall with Wallet, and we have to look at it and have it make sense.”

The card is operational only in the U.S. and can be ordered for free from the Android Google Wallet app or from a Google Wallet account page.

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