Following a leak from an anonymous tipster last week, Google has added fuel to the rumour a physical Google Wallet card is on its way by briefly mentioning the card on its website.
TechCrunch posted screenshots from ‘Eligible Devices’ in the Help section of the Google Wallet site, which reference the yet-to-be announced Google Wallet card compatible with the Android 2.3.3 OS or higher.
Last week the Android Police blog also obtained screenshots of an unreleased version of the Google Wallet for Android app which mentioned a Google Wallet card – designed for use when the tap-and-pay feature was unavailable. The screenshots gave details of the card, such as using it in place of debit or credit card, paying for purchases with a swipe and also loading existing cards to the Google Wallet online service.
Now experts believe the mention of the card on the Google Wallet help page – which has since been removed – is an indication a formal announcement isn’t far away.
Currently, the Google Wallet Virtual Card is only available at retailers who accept contactless payments and exists as an app on Android handsets. While contactless payment is accepted at 100,000 retail locations in the US, Google’s mobile payment service runs on only 10 smartphones – those with NFC chips built in.
“We feel like we’re making a huge difference on transaction volume,” Osama Bedier, Google’s vice president of wallet and payments, said at a Global Mobile Internet Conference in California last month. “We didn’t think NFC was just going to happen in a single year. This is a three-to-five-year game.
“The problem is, there’s a lot of ideas and not a lot of problems being solved. There’s room for multiple solutions … but each solution has to have a value proposition.”
The introduction of a physical Google Wallet card would allow customers without NFC equipped phones to use the payment service, as well as those with devices which block the Google Wallet app – Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have launched payment service Isis in direct competition to Google.