Google has found itself in a sticky situation when it comes to Wallet. While trying to move forward with Tap+Pay NFC functionality, it ran into security road blocks with the major cell phone carriers who were developing their competing ISIS payment system.
Recently, Google has evolved what Wallet is. Starting with a more PayPal-like money sending service tied to GMail, including membership and rewards cards, and now moving Wallet out of its digital app situation and into your real-world um… wallet.
Now you can grab a Wallet card, which ties to your online Wallet account. If you have funds in Wallet online, you can use your card anywhere Mastercard is accepted to pay for goods and services. You can also use it to make cash withdrawals at ATM’s. As other online payment systems have started making inroads into the general shopping experience, none of them have been able to rival old fashioned plastic, so this Mastercard compatibility is pretty key.
It’s a handy end-run around the Tap+Pay fiasco, though I do hope we can see some of the NFC functionality return to non-Nexus handsets outside of Sprint (currently the only carrier supporting NFC Wallet). The timing on this is also critical as we’re about to see Amazon’s payment system go wider with a new set of developer API’s allowing smaller merchants to use Amazon’s one-click payment system on other sites.
(via Google Wallet)