Google Launches Prepaid Card for Your Wallet

Google wallet cardGoogle has launched a prepaid debit card for its Wallet users to make real-world payments and cash withdrawals from their account.

The card can be used anywhere where Mastercard is accepted but is only currently available in the US. As it’s a swipe card, it wouldn’t be suitable for the UK at present.

Users have to top up their Wallet app from a linked account to be able to use the balance in stores or at the cash machine, adding an additional few steps that might seem a bit pointless for people that already use credit or debit cards. And if you’re moving your money from a credit or debit account over to Google Wallet, you’re charged a 2.9 per cent fee with a $0.30 minimum.

Although Google says its free to get cashback over-the-counter or when you go directly inside your bank, you may be charged for checking your Google Wallet balance and withdrawing cash at an ATM. The card gets around the issue of handset penetration and the infrastructure requirements of NFC, with the payment tech removed by Google for redemption of loyalty cards stored in the Wallet back in August, but does seem a bit more trouble than it’s worth.

Google’s selling point compared to banks is still that you can make peer-to-peer payments to anyone using Gmail, which is a lot of people, with any money going straight into Google Wallet. This balance can also be spent in stores or withdrawn at the cash machine. But its not clear if people are using the peer-to-peer service at any scale and banks like Barclays are working hard to own this space too.