Leading into I/O, Google Wallet scraps physical card idea

May 10, 2013
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Google’s mobile payment processor, the appropriately named Wallet, is reportedly set for an I/O update. That update was, according to a few sources, was going to include a physical card. The card, all black with a rainbow Google Wallet “W” on the front, was said to be scrapped due to Larry Page’s displeasure with a buggy trial run.

The scrapped card idea comes after Osama Bedier, Vice President of Wallet, decided to leave Google for the ubiquitous “other opportunities”. His decision is said to come after Page’s displeasure with the physical card, and overall dissatisfaction for the Wallet program not making strides against the competition.

That competition is fierce. Everyone who has the ability to do so is getting involved with mobile payment processing. Being in control not only yields a slice of every purchase pie you make, but also reports back on your spending habits and favorite shopping destinations. That information is useful to them for targeted advertising, generating another avenue for revenue.

In many instances, Wallet has either been dismissed or outright blocked. The program also relies on NFC interacting with specially programmed equipment at the point of sale. That equipment, even when present, usually isn’t setup properly to accept Google Wallet.

The mobile payment space is heavily fragmented, making getting a foothold outside of the proprietary function a payment system was designed for a very tough proposition. Google Wallet works fine for most Play Store transactions, but outside of that realm it’s a disaster. A physical card would have helped, but also defeated the true aim of Wallet.

Back to the drawing board.

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