By Larry Magid

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Google Wallet users now have the option of using a debit card with their account, but weren’t digital wallets supposed to do away with the need to carry cards?

Well, that was my first thought at least was, why would someone who’s trying to invent the future trying to re-introduce something as old as the debit card. But once I read their press release, it made a little more sense.

Let’s say I’m going out to lunch with a friend and I wanted to pick up the tab. Assuming we both had Android phones, my friend could pay me back using our Google wallet accounts. But the problem is, and then what do I do with that money? I could spend it using my Google Wallet on one of the very few places that accepts that. This is where you take your phone and tap it against a terminal (while these exist they are rare).

Or if I had an ATM card I could run to the nearest bank and make a withdrawal. Or I could go anywhere that MasterCard were accepted so I’d have a lot more access to the money my friend just gave me. So it does make some sense, even if it does sound a bit like an oxymoron at first.

But another question arises on whether Google will be collecting data about us on these transactions. Think about it; now they can track you in the real world instead of just online with everywhere you go and make purchases with your card.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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