Google Wallet Gets Real
Soon, Google's electronic payment system will be available on a plastic card, too.
The Google Wallet Card is intended for circumstances when customers cannot use their software-based, mobile phone-bound Google Wallet, due to a merchant's lack of support for NFC payments. The website Android Police has published screenshots that show the unannounced Google Wallet Card and states that the card can be used where major credit and debit cards are accepted.
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Google declined to comment.
Google Wallet stores credit and debit cards issued by payment card providers American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. It presently exists as an Android app and it recently became a cloud service: On Thursday, Google introduced Google Wallet for online commerce, a payment mechanism that stores Wallet credentials in the cloud after an initial purchase, so subsequent purchases can be made without re-entering personal or payment information.
Google did so because so many mobile shoppers — as many as 97%, according to e-commerce consultancy SeeWhy — abandon their virtual shopping carts before completing their transactions. Presumably, streamlining the process so that purchases can be completed in just three steps will lead to a greater number of successful transactions.
Google is working with several online merchants, including 1-800-Flowers.com, Finish Line, FiveGuys.com MovieTickets.com, Seamless, SwimOutlet.com and Rockport.com, to implement its streamlined Web payment process.
The Google Wallet Card appears to be designed to serve as a physical proxy for the default credit or debit payment card that the user has set. For example, if the user has stored an American Express card and a Visa card in Google Wallet and set the Visa card as the default, any purchase made with the Google Wallet card will be charged to the Visa card.
The screenshots posted on the Android Police website indicate that Google Wallet also will gain new features: the ability to withdraw money from, or add money to, a bank account; the ability to send money via email; and the ability to store transit cards such as Los Angeles County's Transit Access Pass.
Google appears to be pursuing a strategy with Google Wallet that mirrors its strategy with Google Voice. Just as Google Voice is as a meta-phone number that connects to existing device- or place-bound phone numbers, Google Wallet is a meta-payment number that connects to existing payment cards. As such, it cannot be excluded from other mobile platforms or left unsupported by mobile carriers who are more interested in promoting their own mobile payment system than in seeing a competitor's system gain traction.
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