The change would make it super easy to get the best rewards, if it happens
Credit cards can be fantastic for things like travel or buying stuff from specific retailers given the rewards, rates they sometimes offer. But keeping track of which card is ideal for which purchase can be obnoxious with things like rotating categories and benefits changes. Nothing is set in stone yet, but Google says it wants to change that someday, showing customers which cards are best for a given purchase through Google Pay.
In a recent talk at its Google I/O developer conference regarding the Google Pay platform, product lead Rajiv Apana touched on many of the recent changes the platform is set to see, like support for virtual cards and plans to replace most of the things in your physical wallet with digital equivalents. Most of the changes were covered yesterday, with today’s talk focusing on the stuff developers need to do to accommodate these tweaks and the technical details behind the changes. But as a near-throwaway line when segueing between topics, Apana tossed off a simple feature Google Pay would like to implement that could have even more far-reaching implications for rewards-seeking credit card users.
None of the details regarding these plans are set in stone, and it sounds like more of a hope than anything the company has actually worked towards yet, but Apana revealed a vision of the future where customers can see details like the points, cashback, or purchase protection policy that apply to a given card at checkout time in Google Pay.
“In the future, we will look to provide even more helpful information about the card benefits such as points, cashback, and purchase predictions, so our users can make the best choice when they are checking out.”
Just imagine: You’re checking out at an online retailer, buying a sweater, or a kayak, or some random-but-necessary gadget. Maybe this is a store or purchase category you’re immediately familiar with. Plenty of us have more than one credit card for specific types of purchases, but you don’t know if the rotating benefit categories for a given card cover this retailer right now, or which of your cards would offer you a price guarantee if you find it cheaper somewhere else, or which ones have a built-in extended warranty for this sort of purchase. Whole sites like The Points Guy are dedicated to keeping track of exactly these details, and not everyone wants to sit and Google up every card they have at the time of checkout, combing through a card agreement or a list of current benefits to maximize potential savings.
There’s no telling precisely how it would work, but including information like that right in the Google Pay checkout process would be huge and exactly the sort of killer feature that could drive customers to flock to it over things like Amazon Payments or PayPal. Instead of guessing about which card is best, Google can just show you what rate and benefits each offers for this precise purchase, making it as simple as comparing numbers and details then and there. Over time, you might even be able to see which cards aren’t pulling their weight and may need to be dumped.
We’ve reached out to Google for more information, but the company couldn’t immediately provide us with additional details. Still, I’m already really excited for this potential future, and I hope Google’s currently nebulous plans for it pan out someday.
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