The coming of the Google Wallet plastic card is apparently near at hand.
As Mobile Payments Today reported last month, Google Wallet is close to launching a physical – meaning plastic – card that links to the payment accounts stored in the app. The card will link to whatever card is selected in the wallet and apply purchases on the card to the default account in the mobile wallet. There are a number of potential applications for what might seem like a "step back" from a fully mobile wallet. First, it could serve as a payment method at merchants who don't accept contactless NFC payments. Or it could give users without an NFC-enabled phone a convenient way to link the Google Wallet's online tools (for instance, making mobile commerce easier) to the offline world – imagine consumers having the transaction history for every purchase they make using every one of their payment cards stored online. And anyone who may have multiple cards for multiple purposes, say a business or personal account, they will all accessible through one card.
Now Android Police has received some leaked screenshots of the Google Wallet app showing the plastic card, as well as the email Google plans to send to users who sign up. There are also screenshots showing some other cool functions. There's the peer-to-peer payment feature that has been promised for some time as well as a potential transit card feature. (The main screen for the card shown here is from Android Police. There are plenty more screenshots on its website.)
According to sources for the earlier report, Discover is involved in the processing of Google Wallet purchases, providing the rails for the Google Wallet transactions from the brick-and-mortar merchants. A close examination of the back of the card shown in the screenshot shows the Discover logo, though hard to read, is actually present at the bottom right corner. (Going by the pictures, it looks like the card itself will be black with the Google Wallet logo on the front.)
No date for when the Google Wallet card will receive a wider rollout is indicated by the email. The source of the pictures at Android Police was apparently a Google Wallet user and Google has been inviting Google Wallet users to "sign up for the next version of Google Wallet" for some time. But it's not clear whether the anonymous source received the email as a part of a test group or whether it was the first stage of a wider rollout. Google Wallet head Osama Bedier said last week the next version of Google Wallet will be arriving within a month.
More on the story as it becomes available.
For more stories like this, visit the mobile/virtual wallet research center.