Many of us are familiar with Google. We use it to search for holiday gift ideas. Yet, others use Android smartphones. And some of us even use Google Wallet to make purchases at Google Play.
The Google Credit Card
But what if I told you that Google is now getting into the credit card business. More specifically you can sign-up for a Google (debit) Card — with a Master Card logo. Unfortunately, the card can only be used within the United States. And the card is funded either by an actual credit card or you can link the Google card to your checking account.
So I signed up for my Google Card back in November. And I received it in the mail this past weekend. I was like a school girl on Christmas morning looking for my Red Rider BB gun. I tore the envelope open. I yanked out the one page “Meet your Google Wallet Card” letter. And there it was — the card.
There was a moment of awe. Then a moment of reflection. Then there was a moment of confusion which was followed by a sense of dissatisfaction. So what’s the big deal? Why is this card so special? Is it a universal payment card — no. Can I control the source of funding on the fly — no. Is it NFC ready — no.
Funding The Card
Disappointed, I activated the card from the Google Wallet app on my Android phone. It’s fairly quick and painless. At that point you, can fund the card from an actual credit card or from your checking account. I opted for the checking account.
Now this part takes awhile. Why — because Google verifies your checking account by depositing an amount of less than $1. This happens in about 2 – 3 days (I am still waiting). Once that happens — you enter the amount into the Wallet app. And voilÝ , the card now draws on your checking account for all purchases.
Using The Card
Using the Google card is the same as using any other credit card. You swipe it at a terminal or hand it to the cashier. And as far as fees, Google charges 2.9% to fund your Wallet account from a credit card. But there are no fees for adding money to Wallet from a checking account or cash back at a point of sale or from ATM withdrawals.
Is The Card For You
I think that the card benefits Google more than the consumer. There is no obvious benefit that the Google Card has over credit cards. But for Google the company gets an intimate look into your buying habits. Allowing the company to better tailor ads to you.
If Google were to add features like NFC it can be your universal payment card. I can see the benefit to the consumer. Until then — it’s unclear why a consumer would want a Google Wallet Card.