In what seems like a strange step backward in the mobile payment space, Google Wallet is close to launching a physical plastic card, according to Mobile Payments Today.
So much for all the oracles predicting the imminent fall of cash and plastic.
The card would link to accounts stored within the Google Wallet app and could be used for transactions at retail locations where contactless near-field communication payments (aka "tap and go") aren't available. As we noted recently, the slow adoption of wide-spread NFC infrastructure has indeed been a major contributor to the mobile wallet's immobility.
Of course, the advantage over a single standard credit card would be the ability to access multiple credit cards via your Google plastic. Discover, which provides the payment infrastructure for Google Wallet at physical stores, also has a hand in creating the Google card, according to photos leaked by the Android Police.
Osama Bedier, the head of Google Wallet, announced last week that Google Wallet will roll out a new version at some point in November; it's possible that the plastic could appear in tandem with that scheduled launch.
The true question is whether this is a brilliant strategy for getting wary users to sign on with Google Wallet or an acknowledgement that when it comes to mobile payment technology, it's tough to pry the plastic out of shoppers' hands.
Visit TechCrunch for more on the Google Wallet card.