Google is making a major play for the retail spending sector by offer Google Wallet
users a prepaid debit card
that they can use at physical locations where MasterCard is accepted. There's no big mystery here -- it works just like the debit card your bank issued you. The card itself is free to obtain, and there are no service fees for using it.
"Your roommate finally paid you back for dinner through Google Wallet, and you want to use that money right away to pay for groceries this week. Now, you can use the new Google Wallet Card to spend the money instantly, either by purchasing in stores or by withdrawing cash at ATMs, without having to wait for money to transfer from your Google Wallet Balance to your bank account," Google explained in a blog post. "The Google Wallet Card is a debit card that lets you quickly access your Wallet Balance, whether you’ve received it from a friend or added it directly from a linked bank account or credit/debit card."
This is a brilliant play on Google's part, Not only does it cash in on the growing prepaid game through its relationship with MasterCard, but it also gives the search giant yet another way to analyze shopping habits.
The move could also give Google Wallet a boost. Google Wallet launched in mid-2011 as a way for smartphone users to pay for goods using their handheld devices, but it hasn't taken off the way Google had envisioned. Up until recently
, it wasn't supported on the iPhone. The other part of the problem is that it's costly for retailers to invest in the necessary equipment to accept smartphone transactions. A debit card with a MasterCard logo solves that problem for the majority of businesses.
Whenever you complete a transaction with a Google Wallet debit card, you'll receive an instant notification on your mobile phone to keep tabs of your spending.
You can request a Google Wallet card
online or through the mobile app.