Remember how the physical Google Wallet card showed up in some APK teardowns only to be removed without a word from Google? Well, it's back and you can place an order for it right now. Google says the card should be delivered to interested parties in 10-12 days.
The Wallet card will let you pay for items at any retailer, even those that don't have the little NFC kiosks Wallet has thus far relied upon. The charge should be relayed to your Wallet account just like you had used an NFC phone. It's unclear if that's just the Wallet balance, or if cards are included too. This fits nicely with Google's strategy of uncoupling the NFC payments in KitKat from the hardware secure element. Google is really making Wallet easier to use on multiple fronts.
Update: Here's a statement from the Wallet team clarifying a few things (thanks, Phillip Jones!):
Thank you for calling us about your interest in using Google Wallet Card as a replacement for your credit and debit cards.
The Google Wallet Card is a plastic MasterCard debit card, funded by your Google Wallet Balance. Each Google Wallet user may have one Google Wallet Card to help spend his or her Wallet Balance in even more places.
As of now, your credit/debit card is not directly linked to your Google Wallet Card; however, you can use your credit/debit card to add funds to your Google Wallet Balance.
You can also add money to your Google Wallet Balance from your payment methods in your Google Wallet (for example, a credit card or checking account) and also by receiving money sent via Gmail or the Google Wallet app. You can spend your Google Wallet Balance directly online or through the app, or you can spend it through your Google Wallet Card anywhere — online and off — that MasterCard debit cards are accepted, including ATMs. (For ATMs, fees apply.)
If your Wallet Balance won't cover a specific Wallet Card purchase, it will be declined. You can either add money to your Wallet Balance to cover the purchase, or you can "split tender," which means asking the cashier to take part of the total purchase amount from your Wallet Card and the rest from another payment method that you provide — for example, cash or another card.
(Please note that while the Google Wallet Card will let you spend your Wallet Balance wherever debit cards are accepted, it won't automatically apply your loyalty cards or Google Offers in the background, without your knowing. You'll choose exactly when you want to use those by displaying them separately to the cashier.)
If you have any more questions, please reply to this email and I'm happy to help.
The Google Wallet Team
If you want your very own physical Google Wallet card, just log into the Wallet site, and there should be a banner at the top to place an order. Just make sure your info is right, and it will reach you in a week or two. Then activate it and you're good to go. Keep in mind, this is probably US-only. Update: It sounds like this is basically a Wallet-based debit card for now, not a way to connect your credit cards to Wallet.
Update: Here's the new Wallet card-aware Wallet APK v2.0-R141 (thanks, Landon Abney!). It also contains some updated assets, such as these pretty banners in My offers and My loyalty programs: