Google Wallet Continues P2P Push, Eliminates Companion Card
Google Wallet is phasing out its companion plastic prepaid card as Google continues to reposition the wallet app as a P2P money transfer service. The Google Wallet Card no longer will be supported as of June 30, 2016, Google announced in a blog post. After that date, transactions made via the card won’t be processed. Wallet balances will remain intact to make transfers or Google Play purchases, but users only will be able to add funds to Wallet balances until May 1, 2016. After that, funds can only be added by receiving a P2P transfer. Wallet balances can be transferred to a bank account at any time.
Initially launched in late 2013, the MasterCard-branded Google Wallet companion card was a tool to enable users to make in-store purchases at a time when NFC contactless acceptance was still rare among merchants—a factor that contributed to sluggish take-up of the wallet. However, the spread of NFC since then has reduced the need for a plastic card. Meanwhile, Google Wallet itself has been usurped by Android Pay as Google’s main in-store transaction service. Last year, Google unveiled a revamped version of Google Wallet that enabled users to make money transfers directly from a linked bank account or debit card via text message and quickly cash out wallet balances. Eliminating the plastic companion card is the next step in that repositioning strategy, according to Google. “Moving forward, we want to focus on making it easier than ever to send and receive money with the Google Wallet app,” the company’s blog said.
For Google Wallet Card users looking for a similar product after the card is discontinued, Google has teamed up with American Express and Simple to offer special sign-up bonuses for Google Wallet users, according to the blog.
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