Back to the Future — a Plastic Debit Card for Google’s Virtual Wallet

You know the fast-arriving world of virtual wallets? If GoogleEUs new, physical debit card for its virtual Wallet is any indication, virtual and mobile e-commerce still need plastic.

On Wednesday, Google Wallet Product Manager Sandra Mariano posted on the Google Commerce blog that a new Google Wallet Card will allow money in the Google Wallet to be spent immediately, instead of transferring it to a bank account and waiting for it to show up in youbank balance.

The debit card taps funds in the Wallet, and the implication is that it can be used in the many places that are not yet set up for near field communication (NFC) payments that draw on the Google Wallet by tapping a smartphone to a retailerEUs terminal. Additionally, the debit card allows access to ATM machines.

The plastic card can be linked to the Wallet or a bank account, and lets the user swipe the card at any retailer that takes MasterCard. The free card, with no annual or monthly fees, also allows the owner to get cash back from purchases or get cash from a bank. The company said that the card is currently only available in the U.S. and cannot be used abroad.

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The debit card can be ordered from inside the Wallet app for Android, or from within the Wallet account. Money is added to a Wallet through a linked bank account, a credit/debit card or by someone sending money, such as through Gmail.

Reuters News Service has reported that data from the cardEUs use will be transmitted to Google to help marketers target ads at that user. The data will include the product or service purchase, the transaction amount and the sellerEUs address.

The launch of the card raises the question whether plastic cards are here to stay, even when virtual,...

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