CardsFTW #95: Google Pay, No Google Wallet, No, Wait...

Plus, Vital Card Leaves Evolve and Chime Pays a Fine

Google's Payments Confusion

It's been a running joke since about 2012 that Google doesn't quite have a strong payment strategy. It's only true in part; clearly, millions of people pay with Google's payment products daily across web browsers, mobile wallets, and the like. Yet, news dropped that Google Pay is shutting down in favor of Google Wallet.

A history of Google Wallet logos
At least the colors are consistent

Apparently, Google Pay, the digital payment app for desktop, mobile apps, and in-store was pretty much phased out by the introduction of Google Wallet in 2022. Did you know? I missed it. I think many years ago, Google Pay replaced something called Google Wallet. Wasn't there also an Android Pay? Or, was it Android Wallet?

Google was once a tech startup but is now a corporate behemoth with many classic big corporate problems, including a branding and marketing approach that neither makes up its mind nor has any relevance to users.

I can't imagine your average user knows or cares why Google Pay and Google Wallet are different. Speaking of which, I think there is a difference between Apple Pay and your Apple Wallet. Does it matter? Probably not either, although I think Apple has managed to keep some differences clear (you pay with pay, and you store things in a wallet. Skeuomorphism isn't dead yet). Is Google doing the same or not? I guess I can't tell.

There is an oft-repeated saying in payments: it's the plumbing of commerce. It should work in the background; unless you're a plumber, thinking about it usually means something is going wrong. I hope we don't have to think about what Google wants to call its payment tools; I'd rather use them.

Vital Card Shuts Down Evolve Cards

Hat tip to reader D.E. for sharing his card termination notice with me:

No Vital Signs here.

I bought ~500 shares in Vital Card when they made an offering on StartEngine a few years ago, but they haven't shared any updates with investors in about forever. (Generally true of my experience with crowdfunding investments.)

I first heard about Vital card in 2019! I was impressed they were able to get a card to market. To be frank, the card feels like an MLM for credit card rewards. Evolve said "yes" to a lot of projects over the past few years and is now rapidly cleaning house, as has been reported by many other fintech watchers. Vital Card says in their note that they will have a new program, but no new information is on their site and the hurdles for launching a card program are higher than ever. We'll keep an eye on this one. Who knows, maybe I'll get some value back for my investment.

Chime Pays a Fine

Chime was ordered to improve its customer support and service offering by the California Department of Financial Protection & Innovation and a fine to the tune of $2.5MM, "regarding the accuracy and responsiveness of Chime’s handling of customer service transactions."

Chime Credit Builder Credit Card
I've always had mixed feeling about the "M"

Chime is likely attracting attention simply due to its size, but it is a good reminder that mistakes can have very high costs in the financial services industry. Customer support is often viewed as a cost center and a drag on the business. The order shows that when it isn't properly attended, it indeed can become a cost center.


CardsFTW is a weekly newsletter, released most Wednesdays, that offers insights and analysis on new products in the credit and debit card industry for consumers and providers. CardsFTW is authored and published by Matthew Goldman and Ellen Perl of Totavi, LLC. Totavi is a boutique consulting firm specializing in fintech. We bring real operational experience that varies from the earliest days of a startup to high-growth phases and public company leadership. Visit to learn more.


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