Now Google appears to have started to phase out the Google Wallet Card, which is a debit card issued by The Bancorp.
To be sure, consumers can still order a Google Wallet Card here — I did so today, in fact. Additionally, Google (and The Bancorp) still supports the card.
But the official Google Wallet FAQ has recently removed a reference to ordering new cards. When exactly Google might eventually phase out the Google Wallet Card entirely from its product menu is unclear, however.
The Bancorp still provides Google customers with a “virtual account number” for Android Pay.
There has been perhaps no venture in digital payments that has pivoted as much as Google since its launch of Google Wallet in May 2011. Killing off the debit card would be Google’s fifth payments pivot, by our count — that’s got to be some sort of record.
There is some surprise should Google spike the debit card. The debit card, when introduced, was a practical solution to a KYC nightmare. Here’s how one former Google employee explained it to us:
Debit cards are global. With this one change (adding a debit card), Google has a money movement service that can achieve global scale very quickly. The former [Google Wallet] product would have taken a decade to scale globally, because of the regulatory overhang of managing funds vs now they simply use the network to register a credit and debit – Google doesn’t need to store the funds.
Perhaps not so simple, after all, it seems.
Another factor behind the introduction of the card was that the mobile carriers made Google Wallet transactions difficult — they were busy building their own mobile payments solution, Isis, later SoftCard, later bought by… Google. Users couldn’t easily use Google Wallet on their phones to pay. Today, with Android Pay, there is simply less reason for the card. The promise of Google Wallet, in other words, is, perhaps, finally being realized.4 - Readers Like This Post