For those of us who follow the mobile payments market, in which our mobile phones become our payment method of choice, the idea of “regressing” back to a credit or debit card is counter-intuitive. Yet when Google Wallet quietly introduced the Wallet Card a week or so ago, most of us were excited.
Because it heralds a big stepping stone for mobile payments that will mean much wider acceptance of the idea of your mobile as your wallet.
You see, the Wallet Card allows you to use it when your phone is not acceptable as a payment option – which is true in most of our transactions. Because most businesses are not (yet) using mobile payment options and some of them aren’t compatible with the one(s) you might be using, the day when we can just click and pay are still a ways off.
But the Wallet Card allows you to use it instead of your normal credit cards or cash, standing in and connecting to your Wallet account just as if you’d used your phone. This has two advantages: first, it lets you stop carrying all the other cards and cash you might normally carry and just use Wallet for everything – if the business accepts credit cards, they can accept the Wallet Card without adding anything; second, it shows businesses how much they could gain were they to adopt Wallet since the Wallet Card transactions will appear as trackable as Visa or MasterCard are.
So although Tap and Pay may be a a long time coming as the most common method, this interim means good things for those of us who look forward to that day.