Are you interested in Google's Wallet card?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| November 6, 2012

So how does an NFC-based payment system evolve? Does it get more . . . NFC-based? Probably not. I mean, what would you do there, right? Make it work from further way? Then you wouldn’t be able to tap-to-pay, and there goes all the fun. Or does it? Apparently the fun is just having your funds available on a digital card, because Google is looking to expand the functionality of their Wallet service here in the near future.

We’ve seen it teased in the past, and most recently we’ve now seen it mentioned directly on one of Google’s support pages. It’s apparently going to be called “Google Wallet card” and it is exactly what it sounds like: a physical card.

So is this the natural evolution of the NFC-based payment system that seems so keen to take over the hearts and minds of the people? Or, at least, our wireless carriers? I don’t imagine why not. As I mentioned above, I don’t think the “trick” is to be able to tap-and-pay, even if that is the gimmick. The part that gets people interested in what Google Wallet is. After all, if you just tell people, “It’s where I can keep my card information, with funds, stored for safekeeping,” you might not be able to sway a lot of people to jump on the bandwagon.

But, if you show them you can store your funds there, safely, and pay for things in a physical store with just your phone, now that’s pretty cool. So, if we’re losing the gimmick with the physical card, I can’t help but wonder if it’s something that people are going to be clamoring for. After all, depending on where you bank, and if there’s an app for it, is there much of a difference between that and what Google’s Wallet card would be?

Based on the limited information we have for the new service, it looks like this: you’ve got Google Wallet, and therein you’ve stored some cards. Those cards probably have some funds on them, so when you go into a store that allows for NFC-based payments, you can just use your phone to pay for it. Tap-tap-away and you’re good to go. Now, this physical card would basically be the same idea: your funds there, on the card, and you’d swipe it just like any other card. Except for using the money in your bank, you’re using the money accumulated within your Google Wallet.

So, you drop the gimmick, and just use a card? Why?

The tap-to-pay feature is awesome, and it makes Google Wallet stand out on its own (right now). So, ditching that in favor of a more “traditional” form of payment just seems . . . Well, boring? That sounds about right. Then again, it does seem like that would be the natural next step for something like this, where someone could just have one location “in the cloud” where their funds are secured, and they can access them in different ways. Forget the card? No problem, you’ve got your phone. Forget your phone? Well, that’s rough, but at least you’ve got the card!

As I’ve said in the past, I’m not much interested in NFC-based payments quite yet, simply because I don’t have many places around here that take advantage of it. And those that do, I don’t frequent all that often. Even when I go in, I don’t think about it, and just swipe my card, anyway. Then again, at least it’s there, and maybe one day I’ll actually remember and give it a go. It could sweep me off my feet.

Or, I could just buy everything right off my phone and have it delivered to me. Choices!

So where do you stand on this evolutionary step for Google’s Wallet? Are you in favor of a physical card? Let me know what you think!

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