Just in case you needed more proof that the leaked news revealing a forthcoming physical Google Wallet Card is indeed legit, you can just visit Google’s own Help section on its Google Wallet website to catch a reference to the yet-to-be announced addition. On the page entitled “Eligible Devices,” Google mentions that all Android devices with an operating system of Android 2.3.3 or higher are able to download the Google Wallet app for use with the “Google Wallet card.”
Of course, “Google Wallet card” is precisely how the new, physical Google card was referred to when the leak was detailed last week.
In case you missed it, an anonymous tipster sent the Android Police blog screenshots obtained from an unreleased version of the Google Wallet Android application, which contained details of a “Google Wallet card” which is designed to be used where Google Wallet’s tap-and-pay feature isn’t an option. That feature, based on NFC, only works with specific NFC-enabled Android handsets at select NFC-enabled point-of-sale terminals.
The “Google Wallet card,” according to the leaked screenshots, will be a universal card of sorts that can take the place of any credit or debit cards in your wallet. Instead of carrying around all your plastic cards, you’ll be able to load them up into the Google Wallet online service, then use the physical Google Wallet card to make purchases with a swipe. The accompanying Wallet mobile application allows you to configure which credit or debit card the Google Wallet card will replace – and you can do this on the fly, too, from the sounds of it.
Although the leak was substantive – the tipster said he even received a confirmation email when requesting a card to be sent to him – it’s hard to know when exactly Google will officially announce the news. Hopefully, the mention spotted here on the Help page of the Wallet website is a good indication that the card is almost ready for primetime.
To be clear, the mention of the “Google Wallet card” is different from the “Google Wallet Virtual Card” (another Wallet feature also designed to be a universal card for making payments), because the Virtual Card only works with contactless payments.
As explained here in the Help section and here in the Terms of Service, (where it’s always referenced as “Google Wallet Virtual Card,” not “Google Wallet card” for short), the Virtual Card works at “any merchant or seller which accepts contactless payments.” In other words, the help page which references the “Google Wallet card” supported on most Android phones is talking about the real deal – the physical card – not an app feature, supported only on NFC-enabled phones.
What can we take away from all this? Well, not only does this legitimize the leak even further, we know that the Google Wallet card will be supported via an app that runs on Android 2.3.3 and higher. We still don’t have an ETA, however. As for an iOS app which will offer the same to iPhone users? Unfortunately, no mention of anything related to iPhone or iOS has popped up about that, either.
Update!: At some point today, Google removed the reference to the card from the help page. Refer to the above screenshot for details of what it looked like prior to the change.
Image credits: Android Police