The Google Wallet Card – Now Available, But Not That Great

Order the Card from your Google Wallet account.

Order the Card from your Google Wallet account.

 

Google likes to tease the points world with the Google Wallet program in my opinion. They added the ability to pay people for free via any credit card that you loaded into Google Wallet, and the points world thought it would be the new and improved Amazon Payments (see Frequent Miler’s post on it). But then they suddenly changed it to include a 2.9% fee for all credit card transactions. Darn.

Now Google Wallet has a new feature – a Google Wallet Card. It’s a card that you can order for free directly from your Google Wallet account, and it says it will arrive in 10-12 days. Don’t get too excited – it’s not particularly useful to us at this point. Here are the highlights of the card:

  • The Google Wallet Card is a MasterCard debit card (with PIN).
  • Fee-free withdrawals at banks ATMs around the country (Fee from the ATM itself still applies).
  • You CANNOT purchase money orders and certain other items with the card.

 

Loading Money

Any transactions from your Google Wallet Card must come from an existing balance in your Google Wallet account. According to their website, there are only two methods to load your Google Wallet account right now: Bank transfers (free) and credit cards (2.9% fee).

Loading your Google Wallet account at a 2.9% fee is not a good idea, so don’t do it. The bank transfer option isn’t really appealing at all to the points community.

Spending Money

You can only spend money that you already have in your Google Wallet account. It really doesn’t make sense for manufactured spend right now since they charge a high fee to load with a credit card. If you do have money in your account, you can use the card as a PIN-enabled debit card where MasterCard is accepted.

As mentioned previously, you can withdraw cash at ATMs and banks, and Google will not charge you a fee. You will still be subject to a fee from the ATM owner. If you can find a way to load money cheaply, then you’ll be able to manufacture spend.

ATM Withdrawals

ATM Withdrawals

Summary

This isn’t an opportunity worth taking advantage of now, but I still recommend that you order a Google Wallet Card right now. It’s free to do so and it might become useful at some point in the future. Right now, this is kind of like PayPal in the sense that you can get a debit card and only use funds already loaded to your account. The main difference is that you can at least buy PayPal Reload packs at stores like CVS, and I don’t think it’s possible to load your Google Wallet account with reload packs just yet.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to in the future. Perhaps Google is challenging PayPal as a payment method, and if they are then it would be wise for them to allow people to load accounts in as many ways as possible. Their system is also set up to take on Amazon Payments, but the pesky fees make it unreasonable to do so. Also, it seems like Google is on to us since it explicitly states that you cannot purchase money orders with the card.

They're on to us...

They’re on to us…

 

Let’s hope that all these changes to Google Wallet will eventually result in another method to manufacture spend!

Comments

  1. What about the Google Play reloads?

  2. How could one be able to manufacture spend if we know of an atm that has no fee?

    • Travel Summary says:

      If you’re talking in general, then there are plenty of Prepaid cards you could use for this. The Amex Prepaid card is a fan favorite, and you’re allowed 3 per person. These can be loaded with Vanilla Reloads, making the process pretty simple. Bluebird also allows ATM withdrawals of course.

      • If I was willing to take the 2.9% hit, is there anything better than this for manufacturing spend? This seems super easy (do the transfer online, then go the ATM and withdraw it), whereas it is really hard for me to find Vanilla Reloads that I can buy with a CC.

        • Travel Summary says:

          My top recommendation is Amazon payments. If not, then try finding Green Dot Reloads (http://travel-summary.com/cheap-points-via-green-dot-moneypak-reloads-at-riteaid/).

          You can also buy PayPal reload packs (which are plentiful), deposit to your PayPal account online and withdraw. I recommend making a transaction (i.e. buying something using your PayPal balance) before withdrawing your money.

          • Can you explain a bit why you would prefer Amazon payments to google wallet? It seems like the cost is the same, and I am much more concerned about getting my AP account shut down for depositing money and just withdrawing it because I use it for $1000 a month of free spend.

            As for greendot and PayPal reloads, perhaps that is the way to go. Just a real pain to find someone willing to sell them for credit cards in my area.

          • Travel Summary says:

            I prefer Amazon payments because it’s free up to $1K per month – no giving up the 2.9% ($29 is a lot of money!). Plus keep in mind that although the Google Wallet Card will not charge a fee, the ATM owner will (unless you find a rare one with no fee).

            I’ve never had any trouble buying PayPal reloads at CVS. Have you experienced trouble with this? Green Dots can definitely be harder.

          • I certainly understand using Amazon Payments for $1000 a month. But I already have that in the bag, and sometimes need to generate more than $1000 a month so I am trying to figure out what is the next best thing. It looks like Amazon is going to charge me 2.9% and so is Google Wallet, so those sound about the same.

            I have not tried PayPal cards yet because I am rather scared of getting my account frozen given how many other people seem to have that issue. That looks like it would be ~1%, but would require me to actually go to a store, whereas I can do the Amazon Payments and Google Wallet stuff all from my computer. So I am worried that the extra 1.9% is not worth the risk of getting my account frozen and having to make some random Paypal purchase before I have to go to the ATM and withdraw.

  3. Great informative post by the way!

  4. Ted Rodriguez IIK says:

    Totally disagree with this article.

  5. “Any transactions from your Google Wallet Card must come from an existing balance in your Google Wallet account. ” – incorrect. If your balance is $0 and a linked bank account, funds come out of linked account. I just made a purchase using my Google Wallet with a $0 balance. It came out of my bank account.

  6. Hey would you guys know if i can use my Google wallet to sell stuff on Amazon? Could i receive funds into my Google account?

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