Google to Discontinue Prepaid Cards in Google Wallet

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Posted 4 years ago

Almost one year ago, Google launched Google Wallet – the latest in mobile payment technology that was set to make cash obsolete. As a way to get people that had NFC (Near Field Communication) hardware in their phones to sign up to Google Wallet, new users were offered the incentive of a shiny free prepaid card, loaded with a complimentary $10.

Well, if you happen to be the owner of one of these prepaid cards, you’re probably waking up to an email in your inbox informing you that the cards have been discontinued.

Here’s what was said on the official Google Wallet email:

Thank you for being one of the first users of the Google Wallet app and for activating your Google Prepaid Card. Since we recently launched the ability to use any debit or credit card in Google Wallet, we are going to discontinue the Google Prepaid Card soon.

September 17: You will no longer be able to add funds to your Google Prepaid Card or add a new Google Prepaid Card to a new device. Please be aware that resetting the Wallet app after this date will remove the Google Prepaid Card and you will not be able to re-add the card. Find out more.

October 17, 2012: Your Google Prepaid Card will disappear from the Wallet app and you won’t be able to spend your balance any longer. Don’t worry, you will be able to request a refund if you have remaining funds by visiting this site.

In the early days of Google Wallet the feature only worked with select credit cards. The introduction of the prepaid card was not only a clever way to get people using the technology from Google, but to get users familiar with the service. Now that Google Wallet has “launched the ability to use any debit or credit card”, there is really no need to have the prepaid cards around anymore. However, while the discontinuation is not likely to cause much inconvenience to American’s, it is bad news for those using the app in Australia.

Bad news for Aussies

As reported by Gizmodo Australia, the phasing out of the prepaid cards will effectively make Google Wallet redundant down under. Google Wallet was never made available in Australia, but where there’s a will there’s a way and clever Android users were able to hack their devices to support the app and claim their free prepaid card. The problem is, the new ability to use any debit or credit card is only applicable to American Citibank customers. This means, on 17 October 2012, Google Wallet for Australians will be useless; that is, until Google finally make the service officially available.

– Anthony Carter

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