Update 7/27/21: Virtual card now rolling out to some users!
According to 9to5Google, Google Pay users who have the new application installed on their devices will soon be able to utilize their Pay balance to buy things in brick and mortar retail locations via NFC. Previously, one could only use a credit or debit card that was pre-loaded into the app for tap to pay, but with this change, which should be rolling out to users in the United States right now, you’ll be able to use the money you’ve got stored up in the same way.
Oftentimes, I’ll have someone send me money through Google Pay, and in order to use it, I’ll need to transfer it to my bank periodically. Instant transfers now require a fee to be taken out, and I’m constantly reminded of the barrier that exists between me and my money. Many people opt to use something like Zelle to avoid such troubles, but I quite prefer the Google service for peer-to-peer money transfers.
Now, Android users in the US can request a virtual Google Pay balance card in order to make purchases at merchants that accept Google Pay for contactless payments (in-store) or accept tokenized payments via Buy with Google Pay (online).9to5Google
In order to make this possible, Google is introducing a new ‘Google Pay balance card’ – a digital card that will sit alongside your other credit and debit cards in the application, making it possible to use it the same way. You’ll first need to request one via the Pay app though. For those familiar with the Google Wallet card, yes, I had one stuffed into my pocket at all times, and no, I don’t think we’ll get another version of a physical card any time soon. Still, this is a welcome change – one that should have been made long ago, arguably at the inception of the new Google Pay.
Now, instead of solely using your Pay balance to buy things on the Google Play Store or online, you’ll be able to use that extra little bit of cash you’ve got saved up because you split the pizza bill with your friends on small things here and there if you find yourself in a store and realize that your other payment methods inaccessible or unavailable.
If you don’t live in the United States, don’t fret – Google says that this option will be coming to all Google Pay users with an Android phone soon, though we don’t have an exact timeline. Does this sound like music to your ears as much as it does mine? Perhaps Google is hoping to get people to load cash directly into the app from their banks more often, and if so, this is a good way to encourage that!