Ready To Let Google Be Your Bank?

    November 24, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google Wallet has come a long way over the past year, and this week in particular, made perhaps its most significant move towards becoming a truly major way to pay for goods and services.

On Wednesday, Google unveiled the Google Wallet Card, a physical card that consumers can use to pay for things in stores using their Google accounts.

Do you currently use Google Wallet? Do you trust Google with your money? Do you think the Google Wallet Card is going to catch on? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Google Wallet Card

The card is free. That’s a key. If you have a Google Wallet account, you can get a card. Pretty simple. So right off the bat, there’s very little friction in at least getting these in users’ hands (or Wallets, if you will).

Google suggests that a friend could pay you back money you lent them using Google Wallet, and then turn around and use that money (via your Google Wallet Card) at the store to buy groceries. Just one example of where this card could come in handy.

Google Wallet product manager Sandra Mariano explains, “Now, you can use the new Google Wallet Card to spend the money instantly, either by purchasing in stores or by withdrawing cash at ATMs, without having to wait for money to transfer from your Google Wallet Balance to your bank account. The Google Wallet Card is a debit card that lets you quickly access your Wallet Balance, whether you’ve received it from a friend or added it directly from a linked bank account or credit/debit card.”

The card can be used anywhere in the U.S. (so far) where MasterCard is accepted.

“And don’t forget, there are many ways of spending your Wallet Balance in addition to spending it with the Google Wallet Card,” says Mariano. “You can use your Wallet Balance to send money to friends, purchase on Google Play, YouTube and other products, tap and pay in stores, or transfer money to your bank account.”

And that’s the thing. Google has already integrated Google Wallet all over the place, particularly on Google services (and I’m guessing you use one or two of those). There’s a good chance you already have this account (even less friction).

As you probably know, Google Wallet took over for Google Checkout, which launched all the way back in 2006. Google has had about seven years to get Google Wallet accounts racked up. Obviously many sites around the web accept Google payments.

Checkout officially shut down this past week. If you have been using Google Checkout as a payment option on your site, and haven’t prepared for the change, you might want to watch this video.

Another big feature Google launched this year was the integration of Google Wallet into Gmail, enabling users to send payments by email, similar to Square Cash, but more limited in some ways.

You can also now book hotels with Google Wallet, using Google’s Hotel Finder.

Google Hotel Finder

A major component of Google Wallet is its ability to simplify the buying process on mobile. A few months back, Google launched the Google Wallet “Instant Buy” API aimed at helping businesses decrease abandonment rates on mobile devices. According to the company at the time, the abandonment rate of shopping carts on mobile is a whopping 97%.

The Verge hailed the move as “a big play from Google to take its payment service to mobile in a subtle way,” and that’s pretty much a perfect way of putting it.

“The Instant Buy API is designed for merchants and developers selling physical goods and services, who already have a payment processor and are looking to simplify the checkout experience for their customers,” explained Google’s Prakash Hariramani. “Developers selling digital goods within their apps will continue to use Google Play In-app Billing, which offers full payment processing capability, including support for carrier billing and gift cards.”

This week, in addition to launching the Google Wallet Card, Google updated the Android app, enabling users to easily add funds to their accounts by taking pictures of their credit and debit cards. It will capture the number and the expiration date automatically.

A lot of banks already let you deposit checks this way with their mobile apps. How long until you can simply deposit checks into your Google Wallet account?

The app also now includes a button you can click on to order your Google Wallet Card.

Google Wallet Card

As far as adoption goes, Google Wallet only launched for the iPhone two months ago, so that should help it gain some traction. This followed another major update for the Android app, which brought some new loyalty programs with it, as well as the aforementioned email payment method. The iPhone version also includes these.

Google Wallet iPhone

Google is often in the news for privacy-related issues, and it stands to reason that some people won’t trust Google with their money. The company just settled with 37 states over Safari user tracking, and even more recently, a German court ruled that Google’s privacy policy violates data protection law.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Google Play was sending personal details to developers when users bought their apps on the Play Store. Congress even got involved, and then Google responded by updating Google Wallet to remove personally identifiable information from transactions.

People will no doubt be wondering if Google is using their Wallet Card transactions for other purposes. Keep in mind recent reports that Google is testing tacking consumers through the physical world to give data to advertisers. That’s with smartphones. With the Wallet Card, Google has found yet another way into your pocket.

Google has shown it is taking payments seriously with a series of aggressive moves in 2013. I expect we’ll be seeing quite a few more over the coming year.

Google had an April Fools’ joke this year about launching the Google Wallet Mobile ATM that you can plug into your smartphone and get cash.

Google Wallet Mobile ATM

I don’t know if we’ll be seeing anything quite that revolutionary from Google Wallet anytime soon, but Google obviously has some interesting ideas.

So how about it? Are you going to be a Google Wallet Card carrier? Do you use Google Wallet for any kind of transaction on a regular or non-regular basis? Tell us about how you use it or why you don’t.

  • Empowermom

    The question is so ridiculous I can’t bear to answer. When I saw it, a flood of reasons NOT to do it came to mind.

    • http://www.roycobden.com Roy Cobden


  • http://www.samzsoft.tk somiran

    Google has gone mad for money. Trusting google for transaction is just joking. No one even trust paypal fully yet, and google expect to be trusted. Google is most dangerous entity in this whole world, where my data is 100% unsafe.

  • Randy

    There is no way I will put any banking or financial information on the internet. I realize every time I use a credit card I risk being hacked, but I keep my credit limits low and check every charge to minimize that risk.

  • cac1031

    I’ve already ordered my card. The recent moves will get more people using Wallet in general and propel the adoption of NFC payments which is the future.

    I don’t mind giving Google the same purchase data than any bank or credit card company has access to. I actually prefer to have all my data mining come from one company rather than having it spread out among many. With this, I only have to read and understand one Terms of Service document. Google does not sell your data to third parties, it sells targeted advertising which uses algorithms based on your data. They are also in a better position than most companies to stand up to the NSA, so I actually feel as protected as I can be using the internet for commerce and communication without resorting to burdensome security measures (Tor, proxy servers and fake accounts).

    • Srsly?

      Google is in NO position to stand up to the NSA because they are a direct extension OF the nsa. Is your hand in a position to stand up to your brain? No. Same thing here.

      • Benwalburn

        Google is its own company, moron.

      • jsh82

        This is what happens when ignorant people have internet access.

        Google is its own company and maybe the least evil of all. They fought the hardest and longest when the government wanted to force internet companies to hand over user information.
        Yahoo folded like a broken chair.

        Other people brought up interesting points. I’d also rather have one company mine my data (buying habits, etc) than a lot of little less trustworthy ones. Thats where the hacking comes in.

        The people that complain so much dont even realize that they run a higher risk to get “hacked” in a restaurant when the waiter can just swipe the card to a reader and/or write down ur 3 security digits and card number w/esp date, etc.

  • http://www.mybookkeepingmanager.com John Dixon

    I notice that PayPal also have a debit card that lets you withdraw funds from your account.

  • rhogue

    With Google’s atrocious invasions of privacy around the globe and snuggly relationship with the US government only an idiot would use Wallet as a bank.

  • https://www.searchen.com/ John Colascione

    Sounds pretty awesome, I’ll surely use it.

  • Alex

    Google should offerths card to adsense users worldwide. They could tranfer their earning to this card and users can use them immidiately.

  • http://www.birminghamph.com Manila

    Nice move for google, smartphone payment facilities now bearable.

  • http://www.aditmicrosys.com/ Hemang Shah

    Google create nice look to find particular things.. It’s Awesome.

  • http://www.mrtechnique.com Tom Nguyen

    Google needs to stick to what they do best and that is search. Being the jack of all trades makes you the master of none. Speaking of that, I need to take my own advice.

  • http://www.soowec.com AK

    A nice way out for those who use google wallet for easy use of their funds in their google wallet account. Many will surely consider the option of using ggogle wallet based on this move.

  • http://www.prnewswire.co.uk Nick Osborn

    This is an amazing idea!! Anything to stop the banks holding money whilst it apparently ‘clears’ is fine by me! Perhaps we can start employing Google to do all our trading soon too :).

    Any ideas when this might be available in the UK??

  • http://www.greyolltwit.net/ Grey Olltwit

    Had to remove Google Checkout as it became yet another Google product to go down the proverbial. Google Wallet is only available in the US so not much good to the rest of the world :(

  • http://www.solusofttech.com/ Andy Simons

    Things turn out to be risky when we put credit card details online. I don’t think that Google Wallet becomes popular like any other Google’s application.

  • http://get-business-online.com/ Gal Baras

    This is SOOO scary, because once again, Google presents an easy option that will make people forget the implications to their privacy and possible enablement of Google to control humanity through yet another channel.

    Reminds me of sci-fi books and films about the computer taking over the world. Yikes.

  • Greener Goods

    I just ordered my Wallet card and received it this week. I’ve yet to upload the Wallet App and do everything online.

    I just transferred the remainder of my Christmas shopping money (budgeted) so I can use the Wallet card to finish Christmas shopping in physical stores tonight. I like knowing I have a budgeted amount to spend on this card and don’t have to carry cash or my banking debit card, which has ALL our money on it. Basically, since I have a PIN, I can shop by just carrying my Wallet card with me.

    For me, the Wallet card works much like my Paypal debit card. I sell an item, and the balance goes immediately and directly onto my Paypal Debit card. I can go immediately to an ATM and withdraw the money in cash or spend it anyway MC is accepted (just like the Wallet card, which also is MC branded).

    For me, this simplifies holiday shopping. Google Wallet Customer Service is also very helpful. I had originally tried to fund and “top-up” my Google Wallet balance directly from my checking account (you go through a verificiation process, much like linking your bank to Paypal, etc.), but that process takes several days. Using my bank’s debit card, funding was instantaneous. Yes, it does attach a 2.9 % service fee, but to me, a dollar or so for instant funding is a no-brainer.

    Finally, Google Wallet has a promo where they allow your first $250 added to your Wallet Card to be Fee-Free. Yep, that’s right. An explanation will pop up when you go to Add Funds that shows you get the first $250 free. I took advantage of that offer.

    Of course paying a fee to top-up your Google Wallet card is not free (unless you do it directly from your bank account and are willing to wait 2-3 days, which I’m not willing to do). Like Paypal, having access to my money immediately is well worth paying a small 2.9% service fee. I build the cost into my sales on ebay and into my price points, so it’s really a no-brainer.

    Happy to have Google Wallet card and the convenience. I’m curious to use it for “Tap to Pay”.

    You may also want to consider storing your Google Wallet and other cards in an RF-protective wallet or case so that your card cant’ be scanned or stolen by RF readers. I’m going to get a slim white case now to be sure my Wallet balance stays in my pocket.

    Great product. I love Google. Now only if I loved Android as much as Apple’s iOS. The whole Google site/design and their platform is gorgeous to look at, easy to use and Wallet and its card is no exception. in fact, I think I’m beginning to like it better than Apple’s!

    Happy Wallet Card Customer :-)

  • http://www.trapezsacfiyatlari.org Trapez sac

    Maybe google bank buys

  • http://www.google.com/lewis.com339 luislubisilewis

    i think google won’t pay me,wil eat my money,so i dnt trust it!.

  • Dee

    Love Google. They disrupt every industry they branch into and i’m sure it’ll be the same here.

    I requested regular balance updates by text from my bank and got daily totals that were always wrong… possibly because of pending charges that I do not care about being that I’ve ALREADY committed to the purchase by swiping my card. I wanted the updates to avoid potentially embarrassing situations in the first place and was actually put in one by this supposed fail-safe. My point being.. back end accounting should be the bank’s business, not mine.

    With The Google Wallet card you know exactly what the real balance is at all times. After each purchase the app pings my phone with the updated purchase-info/balance even before the Wallet card is back in my actual wallet. Perfect for tight budgets.