Google Unveils Its Own Debit Card for Google Wallet Users

The free, no-fee Google Wallet Card lets users make purchases with the money they have in their Google Wallet accounts without having to wait for transfer to their bank accounts.

Google is giving its Google Wallet customers in the United States another convenient way to make purchases using the funds in their Wallet accounts through its new Google Wallet Card, a debit card with no annual or monthly fees.

The new Google-branded debit card will let Wallet customers take money out through ATMs, make purchases anywhere MasterCard is accepted and receive quick notifications on their mobile devices to track their expenditures, according to a Nov. 20 post by Sandra Mariano, product manager for Google Wallet, on the Google Commerce Blog.

"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," wrote Mariano. "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. 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."

While there will be no fees from Google for transferring money to or from the card using a bank checking or savings account, a fee of 2.9 percent will be levied when a user sends or receives money to or from a credit or debit card, according to Google. The minimum fee for such a transaction would be 30 cents. Some ATM operators could also charge an ATM fee to use the card, according to Google.

Google Wallet customers can order a new Google Wallet Card inside the latest version of the Google Wallet app for Android, which is rolling out this week, wrote Mariano. A card can also be ordered through a user's Google Wallet account. So far, the card is only available to U.S. users.

With their Google Wallet accounts, users can also send money to friends; purchase on Google Play, YouTube and other products; tap and pay in stores; or transfer money to their bank accounts, wrote Mariano.

In addition, Wallet account holders are able to receive special discounts this holiday season from a multitude of retailers when they use the card for purchases, according to a related Nov. 20 post by Sofia Buschmann, of the Google Wallet product marketing team, on the Google Commerce Blog. Users can even quickly sign up for loyalty programs with many retailers using the Wallet apps for Android and iOS, including from Amtrak Guest Rewards, Avis Rental Cars, California Pizza Kitchen, Orbitz, The Body Shop and Walgreens, which will make getting discounts even easier.

"Give yourself a gift this holiday by leaving no loyalty point behind," wrote Buschmann. "Add all of your existing loyalty programs into the Google Wallet app by scanning the barcodes or entering your membership IDs. You can also easily join new programs from right within the app, especially handy when you're out and about shopping."

Several special discounts are also being offered now as the new Google Wallet Card is being unveiled, she wrote, including $15 off at Avis, $30 in Orbucks cash at Orbitz, and a free small plate and dessert at California Pizza Kitchen.

In September, Google released a new version of its Google Wallet app for Android phones that included improvements for sending money to others, getting special savings on online purchases and tracking purchases. The new version of the Google Wallet app rolled out for all Android phones, Version 2.3 and higher.

In May, Google announced that it integrated its Wallet payment services with Gmail, allowing users to safely and securely send money to a recipient in an email. The service, which allows up to $10,000 to be sent in a single transaction, works even if the recipient does not have a Gmail address. The new Google Wallet app also received that capability.