Google Wallet Card: Circular logic is circular

Posted by & filed under Misc, Technology.

There are new rumors that soon Google Wallet will have a new credit card for those cases where you can’t “tap and pay”. Well, not really a “credit” card, it’s more like a debit “interface” card — similar to debit Paypal card. Which means you’re supposed to keep a balance there too.

I’m not sure if it’s such a good idea. I mean, it’s not going to harm anything, but it doesn’t make any sense either. For most users, Google Wallet is a way to pay for Android apps (via Play) and for some purchases from small merchants. For those cases new card doesn’t make sense. If you’re trying to pay in a physical store you may as well pull out the real card, especially as it’s not clear if any standard consumer protections will work for purchase by Google Wallet Proxy. Now, they could offer some discounts (say, coupons, automatically applied when you pay by this new card), then it could, theoretically, be useful.

Another oddity is that they have just eliminated “virtual” cards that you could get in the Wallet app. And now switching into physical ones? Odd.

And last worry — Google’s support is awful. It’s nonexistent unless you’re big and important enough to have an individual representative. Would you like to have your questions answered within a few business day after you sent them via email? When the balance is tied up and your card doesn’t work? Yeah, I didn’t think so…

The best case scenario would be cheap person-to-person payments. Now that could be the real deal. Eliminate PayPal’s fees, allow withdrawal of balance without additional fees, and that could be a good product (so far only American Express does something similar with their pre-paid cards — you can reload it without fees, and no other fees are charged to the prepaid card). It won’t eliminate support worry, but for some people it could be “acceptable risk”.

Hopefully these rumors will be confirmed/denied soon.

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