Google now offers a Google Wallet Card as a physical extension of the credit-, debit- and loyalty-card management app Google Wallet, allowing users to withdraw cash from ATMs and pay with the card in stores.
The card is tied to a user’s Google Wallet Balance, to which a user can add money from a variety of their cards and accounts in the Wallet. Specific-use cards, like store cards, flexible spending account cards and gift cards aren’t currently supported by Google Wallet.
Without the card, in-store Google Wallet purchases are only available to certain Android phones that support NFC tap-and-pay functionality, so the addition of this product makes Wallet more useful to a wider user base.
There are no fees to activate or maintain a Wallet card, which is MasterCard-branded, but some ATM providers may charge a fee for withdrawals, just like regular debit cards. The card functions with the PIN associated with the Wallet app, and it cannot be used outside the U.S.
When multiple financial accounts are pooled like this, security is always a concern, and users receive Google Wallet Purchase Protection, which “covers 100% of all eligible unauthorized transactions reported within 180 days of purchase.”
The Wallet Balance works like an intermediary between a consumer’s bank-issued cards and merchants: ATM withdrawals come from that pool of money, no matter what kind of account it had been transferred from, and any refunds from return transactions are credited to the balance. From there, users can transfer balance money to their bank accounts, if they have been added to the wallet.
According to Google, users can order a card through the Wallet app or wallet.google.com/cardRequest, and the card will be sent to that user’s mailing address.