Google readying its own physical credit card

Though some attention has been paid to Google’s relatively new near-field communications credit and debit card purchasing system in the last year or so, the company is now trying to increase visibility for the product in an old-fashioned way.

Google Wallet has been out for some time now, but adoption has been slow as consumers still seem relatively wary of the benefits NFC technology can bring to their everyday lives, and as a result, the Web giant is now rolling out an old-fashioned credit card to go with the new service, according to a report from the tech site Android Police. But there is some amount of newer technology attached to the card, including the ability to change which account it’s attached to, meaning users will only need to carry one with them.

How it works

The point of Google Wallet, in general, is so that consumers can leave their credit cards at home and use their mobile phones to make purchases, the report said. However, in many cases it may be difficult to find a business that is equipped to accept this type of NFC purchase, which requires special devices that can communicate with a smartphone embedded with the necessary technology. As such, even those who have adopted Google Wallet as a regular payment method may not always be able to use it when they want.

The Google Wallet card changes all that, allowing consumers to swipe the plastic as they would any other debit or credit card, the report said. When this happens, the card will make the payment using the data of the account listed as the default in the user’s Google Wallet app. For example, say a consumer wants to make a small purchase using a debit card at one store, then go down the street and make a bigger purchase using a credit card. They could use the Google Wallet card for both, and all they would have to do in the interim is go into the associated app on their phone and change the default card. The Wallet card is accepted anywhere major credit cards are, and users will receive instant notification when the purchase is completed.

Setting up the account, and more

Google may be using the new physical card to encourage adoption of the Wallet platform in general, but it can also be convenient to current users, the report said. That’s because they have the option to order the card through the associated app, which will then be mailed directly to their house, and Google will send them a confirmation email once the card ships to them. Once it arrives, they will also be able to register it through the app as well so that they can begin using it.

But in addition to rolling out the new physical cards, Google is also adding a number of other features, such as what it calls Wallet Balance, the report said. This allows users to essentially load money onto their Google account and then use those funds to make a purchase, as they might with a prepaid card. They can also use this part of their Wallet account to transfer money to another person, as they might with a PayPal account today.

Ongoing issues

This move will likely be convenient and enticing for many current credit and debit card users, but it may also hint at Google’s impatience with the current speed of NFC credit card purchasing adoption among consumers. While many companies are now developing their own competitors to Wallet, and have invested significant amounts of money into them, consumers nonetheless seem reticent to dive into this kind of technology use.

Polls have shown that consumers don’t feel, or at least haven’t been presented with enough evidence, that NFC technology is more secure than traditional credit card use, and as such, many don’t see a reason to look for a solution to a process that doesn’t seem to be broken. However, experts say that adoption of this technology will likely take a relatively short period of time to grow once such an option becomes popular. Most predict that by 2015 or so, use of NFC technology to make purchases will become widespread and be worth a considerable amount of money to industry participants.

Though NFC technology is generally considered more secure than standard credit card use, you will still need to be wary of the health of your accounts on your own. One way in which you might want to do this is by ordering a copy of your credit report and checking it for any unfair markings. These entries can lower your credit score, but working with a credit repair service may allow you to get them cleared up quickly and easily.

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