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Google kills off Wallet's pre-paid card

11 September 2012  |  8091 views  |  3 google wallet

Google is ditching the pre-paid card it gives to people who sign up for its mobile wallet, telling customers to spend any money they have on it by the middle of next month.

The search giant says that the pre-paid card has become obsolete since it overhauled its wallet last month to enable users to link any debit card.

In a notice to customers, it warns that from 17 September customers will no longer be able to add funds to their Google pre-paid card or add a new one to a new phone.

Then, from 17 October, the pre-paid card will disappear from Wallet apps and users will no longer be able to spend the balance, although they can request a refund.

In February Google was forced to disabled provisioning of the pre-paid cards for the wallet after researchers found a number of gaping security holes in the application.
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Comments: (3)

David Abbott
David Abbott - PayCommerce - London | 11 September, 2012, 11:44

In my experience the prepaid card was doomed when it was first used, but this probably attracted marketing budget spend from MasterCard, so would have helped development costs....  It was a poor expedient to get things moving, probably essential due to some internally/conference related deadline. The quarterly account costs inherent in a dedicated debit card, that would have suffered significant dormancy, would have been prohibitive if take up had been reasonable, which it wasnt....

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Alexander Peschkoff
Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 11 September, 2012, 11:58

There are TWO (virtual) prepaid cards when it comes to GW. One, transparent to the user, "fronts" GW in retail environment.

The second one is a straightforward prepaid card which Google has been offering for quite a while.

As far as one can tell from the press release, it's the latter card that is being discontinued. The former card stays as GW wouldn't function without it.

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Larry De Palma
Larry De Palma - TDG-Phenix, Inc. - Nashville, TN | 17 September, 2012, 15:57

To David's comment, the prepaid card is alive and very well in the US.  Google's failed attempt at trying to get it to work is not a good indicator of the industry.  In fact, there are about 6 billion transactions processed each year using prepaid cards, due to the relatively high number of under/un banked individuals in the US.  Some of those individuals can blame the banking system for relegating them to this payment system due to excessive NSF fees and then placement into the 'black hole' system we know as ChexSystems.   The mobile wallet concept will be a good financial tool for that population, the options to send/receive funds and add to an account seem to be almost mind-boggling. 

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