Before Android Pay, there was Google Wallet. And during Wallet’s reign over NFC-powered payments, Google offered a physical card to use as a rechargeable debit card. As Wallet has shifted roles, however, the search giant reached the decision to get rid of the physical card connected with it.
Google has now sent out an email to Wallet users who requested for a Wallet Card, with the subject “Important update about your Wallet Card.”
“After careful consideration, we’ve decided that we’ll no longer support the Wallet Card as of June 30,” Google said in the email. “Moving forward we want to focus on making it easier than ever to send and receive money with the Google Wallet app.”
Google suggests switching to American Express and Simple’s debit accounts that also offer a similar card, and named those two specifically because Google is partnering with them to offer Wallet Card users an added bonus after signing up.
Google Wallet users have until this decision been able to request a Wallet Card from the app, and after it was delivered and activated, it could be used to make cash withdrawals at ATMs or banks, or to make purchases at locations that accept MasterCard Debit in the U.S. The Google Wallet app has a “Wallet Card & Balance” section, where you can view your card’s balance, lock the card, or cancel it.
If you have never heard of, or seen, this card before, that’s likely why it’s going away. It never really seemed to pick up much traction. The folks at Android Police first discovered text in an APK for a Google Wallet update that said the physical card will be defunct after June 30.
Google says you will still be able to activate your card and add money to your Wallet Balance until May 1. If you have any remaining money in your Wallet Balance after May 1, you can keep it there, sent it, or cash it out.
Do note that this would only affect the physical Wallet Card, not your Google Wallet account. Google Wallet is still alive and well, and in fact it’s now the search giant’s primary tool for peer-to-peer payments, competing with apps like Venmo, Square Cash, and PayPal.
The news will be disappointing to those who enjoy using the card when the app isn’t available to use, whether through their device’s lack of NFC, or if their bank doesn’t support Android Pay yet.
Google says it is hard at work on new features for Google Wallet, and to expect them in the coming months.
Updated on 03/31/2016 by Julian Chokkattu: Added confirmation of the Wallet Card being discontinued.
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