Google's New Take on Mobile Payments is a Debit Card
More than 40 years ago, banks introduced a new way to pay for items and services without carrying cash.
Instead of using a credit card (which allowed consumers to purchase items they were not yet ready to pay for), shoppers could use a debit card to instantly spend the money already sitting in their bank accounts.
With more than 37 billion debit transactions every year, debit cards have become an important part of the payment ecosystem.
Two years ago, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) attempted to introduce another world-changing payment method: Google Wallet. Designed to replace a traditional wallet, Google Wallet could be used to transfer debit and credit cards to a user's smartphone.
Tech companies continue to tell consumers that smartphones are the payment solution of the future, but Google seems to be having second thoughts. Instead of pushing on with its phone-only wallet, the company has released an actual debit card.
Designed to let users take advantage of the funds already in their Google Wallet, the Google Wallet Card can be used at millions of MasterCard (NYSE: MA) locations. It can also be used to get cash from ATMs, but Google warns some ATM providers may charge a fee for this service.
The Google Wallet Card does not come with any monthly or annual fees, but it may not be as convenient for consumers to use -- since it is not actually a bank card. However, it does offer instant notifications that alert users whenever money is spent. That could be helpful to those who want to keep track of their funds.
In addition to the new debit card, Google also announced its Google Wallet app will allow users to instantly join loyalty programs from Avis (NASDAQ: CAR), California Pizza Kitchen and Walgreens (NYSE: WAG), among others.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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