Google Wallet has been around for a couple of years now, and has done not so badly, considering that their main rival is Paypal. In an effort to get more people using Wallet, Google is now offering their US users a free debit card which can be used for offline purchases at anywhere that accepts Mastercard or debit cards, as well as withdrawing cash from your Wallet account at ATMs and banks – but only inside the US.
To get a card, you will obviously need to verify your identity with Google, so that they are sure they are issuing cards to the right people. According to this page, information that you will need to supply includes “name, address, date of birth, last four digits of Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and other information that will enable us to reasonably verify the identity of the individual”.
The card takes 10-12 days to arrive, is totally free, and the issuing bank is the Bancorp Bank. You should note however that, even though there are no fees for the card, Google Wallet charges fees for certain transactions. You can see what those are by looking at this list. For other questions regarding the card, check out this Wallet FAQ list.
Paypal has offered such a card for some time now, so in that respect Google Wallet is playing catch-up. It’s just a pity that once again, this is restricted to the US only. Hopefully, Google will eventually make this scheme available to more countries and more banking systems.
Source: Google Commerce