Google is not alone in offering a physical card tied to its online wallet. PayPal, the payments unit of eBay Inc., last year began offering a card that consumers could use in stores. It is part of an effort to expand PayPal acceptance beyond e-commerce.

The Google Wallet Card and PayPal card are necessary because no pure mobile wallet can work everywhere in the United States, says Todd Ablowitz, president of Littleton, Colo.-based Double Diamond Group. “The essence of a mobile wallet is all about it working everywhere,” Ablowitz says. “The best practice is to send out a plastic card so the same wallet can be used for mobile-enabled merchants and non-mobile enabled merchants.”

The debut of the Google card also signifies a more concerted and holistic effort by the online search and advertising giant to compete against PayPal, he says. “No question they have a bulls eye right on PayPal,” Ablowitz says.

Digital Transactions, November 20, 2013
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