Magazine article American Banker

Google Lets Customers Activate Cards in Mobile Wallet App -- Will Banks Follow?

Magazine article American Banker

Google Lets Customers Activate Cards in Mobile Wallet App -- Will Banks Follow?

Article excerpt

Byline: David Heun

Google Wallet users can now activate the accompanying plastic Google Wallet card through the mobile app, a process that will become increasingly common as mobile payments advance, experts say.

The Google plastic card, a recent addition to the Google Wallet offering, lets consumers use their Google Wallet or a linked bank account at merchants that don't accept contactless Near Field Communication payments. After a consumer orders the card, the Google Wallet app asks at every login whether the card has arrived and needs to be activated.

Many companies will support plastic card activation through mobile apps in the future, says Richard Oglesby, senior analyst and mobile pay expert with Boston-based Aite Group.

"Any consumer using Google Wallet probably got it through a mobile device, and that's the only thing they use," Oglesby says. "Those consumers wouldn't want to have to do the activation on another device."

Other digital wallet providers, such as PayPal and Isis, also offer plastic cards to consumers. PayPal's plastic card is necessary to handle payments at most of the merchants it reaches through an arrangement with Discover Financial Services. Isis, a venture of AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile, urges users to sign up for an American Express Serve prepaid card if they do not have an account with its other card-issuing partners, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

Banks will view activation through mobile apps as another form of customer service, says Matthew Talbot, senior vice president of mobile commerce for Germany-based SAP Mobile. …

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