The past 24 hours have been quite interesting for Google Wallet fans, as a combination of leaks and official announcements have shed some light on a few new features coming to Google’s payment service. Fortunately, we’ve broken everything down for you, and here’s what you should know.
Leaks (i.e. still technically rumors)
Physical Google Wallet payment card.
Yesterday, the editors at Android Police got their hands on a leaked Google Wallet .apk file that shows some interesting new twists to the Google Wallet service. What’s got everyone all riled up, however, is it appears that Google will now offer a physical Google Wallet payment card that will work wherever credit and debit cards are accepted. It seems that you’ll be able to leave all of your other cards at home, and just carry your phone and your physical Google Wallet card. Whichever credit or debit card you’ve selected to be your primary card in the Google Wallet app will be charged when you use the physical card.
This has several intriguing advantages over the way Google Wallet works now. First, you’ll be able to use Google Wallet everywhere – not just the places that have enabled NFC payments. Second, if you lose your card, you’ll only have one card to cancel – not every single card in your wallet. Third, it’s likely (although unconfirmed) that the new card will be a MasterCard, since Google has partnered with MasterCard from day one. That means you’ll technically be able to use Discover and American Express cards at places that don’t usually take them, because as far as the merchant is concerned, you’re using a MasterCard.
Google Wallet balance, similar to PayPal.
We’ve heard this rumor before, and this just confirms it. It seems that Google will roll out the ability to keep a balance in your Google Wallet account, which will hopefully be integrated into the Play Store. You’ll also be able to send payments to other people with this balance.
Yep, you’ll be able to add those to your Google Wallet app, as well. There’s no word on which transit systems will be compatible at launch, but this is still pretty awesome.
Integration with mobile sites.
According to a recent post on Google’s official commerce blog, Google Wallet is going to make paying with your credit card on your mobile phone a lot easier. Apparently, it’s partnering with various mobile sites like 1-800-flowers.com, Rockport.com, FiveGuys.com, Finish Line, MovieTickets.com, Seamless, SwimOutlet.com and more to bring this service with you. These sites will automatically integrate with the Google Wallet information that’s already associated with your device, and let you auto-fill all of your personal payment information.
It certainly looks like Google is preparing its Wallet service to be quite the competitor to Iris, with a few features sprinkled in that I don’t think anyone was expecting. I don’t know about you, but I’m especially excited at the prospect of having only one physical Google Wallet card with me, and being able to switch between accounts on my phone.
I guess now we know how Google will be able to get away with including the Wallet app on other phones that don’t have NFC enabled yet, like the iPhone. Kudos to folks at Mountain View for their creativity.