Corroborating some pretty hard evidence of the physical Google Wallet card's existence we revealed last week, TechCrunch noticed this morning that a definite reference to that card has appeared on Wallet's official support site. More importantly, though, this confirms my own suspicions about the future of the Google Wallet app in light of the physical card: near-universal compatibility.

According to the support page, the new non-NFC version of the Wallet app will be compatible with any Android 2.3.3+ device, which is pretty much the vast majority of Android devices out there. This is big. This is the "circumvention" of the carriers we heard rumblings of earlier this year.


With the physical Wallet card, Google will be able to condense all your credit cards into its single-swipe nexus, which you can carry in place of all your other plastic payment providers. This adds security to your traditional wallet, as well, by allowing you to cancel just one card if your wallet is lost or stolen (the Wallet card), as compared to every card you carry. And, if you want to switch payment options on the fly, the new version of the Wallet app will allow you to do just that. I'm willing to bet Google wants to get fancy with this eventually (perhaps location-sensitive payment methods), but for now, I'm absolutely thrilled to see Wallet going a direction no one else really has. And, as the signup page for the new Wallet indicates, they're planning on making this cross-platform, eventually.

And all without the help of those wonderful, accommodating American carriers.

While the support page still says imported phones will not work with Wallet, it's unknown if this also applies to the non-tap payment version of the app, or is simply language left over from the NFC version. My guess would be that it does apply to all versions, likely to prevent non-US customers from shipping a card to an address in the US and then having it sent for use abroad.

Regardless, this is a big move for Wallet, and we can't wait for them to announce what it seems like we pretty much know for a fact at this point.

Wallet Support via TechCrunch

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Blaine Magee

    I seriously hate AT&T for their lack of support on wallet.

    • Jared Fulgham

      Ditto for Verizon.

      • Cherokee4Life

        Ditto for Spri.... ooh wait :)

        • WITTERU

          ... you are mean lol

          • Cherokee4Life

            couldn't resist

          • Sam

            That just made my day!

      • Logan B.

        You can still circumvent Verizon's (and probably AT&T's) blocking of Google Wallet. I've finally had the chance to use GW on my VZW Galaxy Nexus and it's alright. Getting it to work correctly is a trick sometimes and some places didn't accept it on their NFC machines. But this card will go a loooong ways in making Google Wallet a viable option. I'm pretty excited about this.

        • Jared Fulgham

          Yeah, I've been using it on my VZW Galaxy Nexus since I picked it up a few months ago. It's just ridiculous that we have to circumvent Verizon's block. Anti-trust issues anyone? But why should we expect that to come up as an issue? VZW and AT&T both pad enough pockets in congress that they get away with this garbage... Anyway... /rant

          • ddpacino

            It sucks that each time the app is updated we also have to go find the latest version to re-install via side-loading, smh. I chose the Nexus for a reason. I do not want this bull$#!+.

          • Jared Fulgham

            Hear, hear! That's why I'm all but decided to leave Verizon either when my contract is up, or when they try to do away with my Unlimited data. Until then, I will gripe and complain about Verizon every chance I get. This crap bugs me so bad. An unlocked Nexus 4 (or the one after that) on a prepaid plan will probably be the best bet for complete openness and will avoid this whole headache.

        • CoffeeZombie

          I actually didn't even know until recently that AT&T blocks Google Wallet. I'm on AT&T, and have used it successfully with my Galaxy Nexus twice now. :-)

          • THUMOS

            That's about how many times I have used it... in 6 months. Unless you eat at McDonalds a lot, NFC Wallet is of limited utility. A lot of hype and hand-wringing going on about this for no reason, IMO.

      • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

        Both Verizon and AT&T might be getting into trouble soon. The app's reason for being blocked was security which was the main reason that was keeping it in the gray area. The security issue is no longer there since phones without nfc (no security leakage) are able to use the app. I'm hoping someone with power realizes this and takes them to court.

        • ddpacino

          I believe they are waiting to push Iris or whatever that other wallet service is. NO, Verizon, you DO NOT get to tell how to use my phone! I want all-Google Everything, thank you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

            I'm referring to that other case that got Verizon in trouble for removing wifi tether apps on the play store. My belief was that Wallet didn't fall in that category because NFC (according to Verizon) was a security issue. This however is no longer the case and if Verizon keeps on blocking Wallet then I hope they run into trouble soon.

  • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

    If this comes to the UK soon, it'd be perfect, seeing as the Nexus 4 has NFC.

  • Christopher Saylor

    In this light, why not just team up with Otterbox or a major phone case manufacturer and put a chip inside the case so your phone can essentially act as a wallet card?

    • tookieboy

      so.. what's the point of it? You get a rugged NFC phone? You still need the secure element anyway

      • http://twitter.com/BIGELLOW Bob Bigellow

        Companies that make physical cards often give their customers NFC stickers that, when used, will be just as good as a swipe. So, it's not too far out to expect the Google Wallet physical card (which will probably use the Discover/Novus network) to eventually have a sticker provided that handles the NFC part. You can apply this sticker to your phone or whichever device you like. It might not be as secure as using an NFC-capable phone with the secure element, but it's not less secure than existing physical credit cards using NFC chips.

    • crankyd00d

      Because not everybody likes Otter box/OtterBrands cases? Really easy answer

  • Aaron Berlin

    Small thing, but if this is still a virtual master card like the way Wallet currently works, it will be really useful for places that don't accept American Express!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Right now, there's no real reason to believe that is the case, aside from Google's past relationship with MC. The documentation in the leaked Wallet app suggests it will be accepted anywhere "major credit cards" are taken, not just MasterCard. That was my first thought, as well, but I doubt Google would make such a serious oversight that would prevent you from using the card in a large number of locations.

      • br_hermon

        I could be wrong but I don't think he means "Master Card", I think he means master (of all) card(s)...

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Nope, pretty sure he doesn't.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1312291338 Tim Miller

        I'd say it's by far the most likely case! You can't just swipe a magical card with no payment network to process the transaction. Google would be back to square one and have to build our their own payment network, which would be even worse then NFC. I'd place good money that their relationship with MasterCard will continue in to this physical card.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          If it counts for anything, Google already does have many components of a "payment network" in place. People always forget about Google Checkout (now it's also partially branded as Wallet, but in some places they still call it checkout). They've been operating this as a competitor to Paypal for website payments for years. It's not a big leap to extend the capabilities they already have. If you look at the functions that Paypal serves, they have all of the same components to do the same thing Google is about to do with a card, they've just never bundled them together to be able to do this particular implementation (as far as I've ever seen). The NFC-based payment system really was a far more challenging venture and required jumping over many more hurdles.

      • marcusmaximus04

        Well, note that at most places that accept major credit cards, Mastercard is included. The only places I've seen that don't take Mastercard either don't take any or are Costco.

      • Dan

        So we're just ignoring this?

        If it's only available on the Discover network, it is absolutely NOT accepted anywhere major credit cards are accepted. My Discover card is the card I always try to use first and I routinely need to dig out another card because the merchant doesn't take discover.

        The MasterCard/Visa network is much larger than Discover or Amex.

        • http://twitter.com/BIGELLOW Bob Bigellow

          Although it's not ideal, I think it's a good plan overall. The only place I haven't been able to use my Discover Card is at a local Wendy's. I also happen to know their machines will accept it, because they let me use it once and it worked. However, after that, they keep telling me they won't take it. Likely because the manager of the store doesn't want to hassle with it. If Google Wallet uses the Discover network and gains traction, these retail "hold outs" who refuse to take Discover cards may take notice and finally join in. This will help Discover Card owners, will help Discover, and will also help Google Wallet. This is a strategy Disney takes often. They don't partner with #1... they partner with #2 or #3 and help them grow in the process, while Disney saves money.

          • John O’Connor

            If Google wanted to be extra ambitious they would just give away gPass P.O.S. systems to any merchant who wanted to use them and charge either a fractional surchage or transaction fee that is much lower than MC/Visa terminals (or better yet NO CHARGE at all)

            This would almost certainly push adoption of the new gCard standard among Visa/Amex/MC/Discover

      • http://twitter.com/BIGELLOW Bob Bigellow

        Maybe this isn't the case in other countries, but I know that in the U.S. any place that accepts "major credit cards" are going to simply accept MasterCard. I've never found a place that takes Visa but does not take MC. The only cards I've seen that might not be accepted at a place are Discover or American Express. Costco is the oddball in that they will only accept American Express. So, I see no reason why this won't simply be a proxy MasterCard that just passes the charge onto your default card registered in Google Wallet. To expect Google to be able to make another card option and somehow convince retailers everywhere to start accepting this other card option when Discover and MasterCard can't even convince them all to do so would be expecting way too much from Google at this point. Also, if they still want to apply an element of NFC to it, they'll want to stick with MC PayPass, which is the only one that has gained any real traction in retail stores at this point. Imagine that, with the physical Google Wallet card, you are also given an NFC sticker to stick into the inside of your phone's battery case. Now, your Verizone/AT&T Android phone (or even your iPhone) is instantly capable of simulating the NFC Google Wallet experience.

      • ddpacino

        But isn't MC accepted everywhere?! AMEX can be iffy, but I can't think of one place, ever, where it wasn't accepted, along with Visa. I could be wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/gnomegineer Justin

    You might want to edit, you don't have to cancel the card (that google wallet is linked to) if you lose the physical google wallet card. You can simply disconnect the physical card from your wallet.

    An ideal situation results in you having to cancel 0 credit cards, and simply request a new physical card from google.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      No, I mean you'd only have to cancel the Google Wallet card. Why disconnect the cards and re-add them and request a new Wallet card when you can just request a new card and not have to remove the other ones? That makes no sense.

      • Darkcloud

        I think he meant you would only have to remove the physical google wallet card from your account and request a new card rather than actually calling and telling them to cancel the google card.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Er, calling and cancelling results in the same thing as removing the card and requesting a new one: you get a new card, and your old one doesn't work anymore. I am not seeing any distinction here.

          • http://twitter.com/BIGELLOW Bob Bigellow

            Exactly. This is just a grammar/syntax war at this point. It's like the difference between deleting a file from a hard drive or just marking it for deletion and hiding it. Same difference.

        • http://twitter.com/gnomegineer Justin

          Exactly, this allows you to lose your wallet, and not have to cancel any cards (so long as they weren't in your wallet.) Even if I have to use this feature once, it'd save a massive amount of headaches that come with a stolen or lost wallet.

  • John

    Stick that in your pipe & smoke it, Isis.

  • lensgrabber

    Any clue at all as to when those that signed up for this on the wallet page a few weeks ago will start hearing something? I just hope I get picked as a early adopter. This is so awesome!

    • JG

      Agreed! I'd love to be able to flash a Google Wallet card with 000 0000 0000 0042 as my card number :)

  • http://twitter.com/SportsAndTV Brian Pearcy

    To me Google Wallet won't be fully useful till it can replace all of your cards. Membership cards, credit cards, discount cards, ect... Taking three cards out of my wallet and adding one isn't a big deal to me. It is all the other cards that is the problem.

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    "will allow to do you just that"

    should be
    "will allow you to do just that"

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Thanks, Cody.

  • mgamerz

    Slip card behind phone case
    Google Wallet like everyone else

  • http://twitter.com/jguzman277 Juan Guzman

    Does anyone know why the Note 2 on Sprint doesn't support Wallet?

  • pb

    :( no international
    will be interesting when will support international, all carrier networks...

  • Drew Dennis

    I may have missed it, but will this card feature NFC in itself, like Visa PayWave, or the other equivalents? That would be really awesome.

    • theiowakid

      No it won't.

      • http://twitter.com/BIGELLOW Bob Bigellow

        With an optional NFC sticker later down the road, it could. I have a credit card that has no NFC chip in it. Later, the company sent me a sticker that acts like an NFC proxy to the same account. Works like a charm.

      • Drew Dennis

        Sad day :(

  • Ryan Stuckmaier

    Does anyone know why the Note 2 on Sprint isn't supported? Other Sprint phones are on it, and other Samsung phones, too.

  • RaptorOO7

    So what can we do about this, contact the FTC and FCC and file complaints. Customers were not supposed to blocked from loading and using applications of their choosing (by Verizon) as part of that big spectrum sale or does that NOT apply in this case.

    Regardless I feel pressure via the gov't is the only way. Its my phone, its my choice and I should be able to use the technology.

  • http://www.facebook.com/encryptioncsta Mark John Halpin

    google wallet
    google music
    google mags
    google movies/tv purchase options
    seriously...whats te point in owning a android device if you live in the uk...:( us users in the ukneed this stuff otherwords android will never compete with other rivals...:(
    very disssatified nexus 4 and nexus 7 user here from the uk...:(