It seems to be a trend here at 78p.tv to get churches on board with cutting edge financial options. Recently, TC had a post (ok, maybe it was two) on adopting Bitcoin as a tithing option in your church. He and I both agree that too often churches let new technologies and ideas whizz right by them. Rather than being on the forefront of culture, we tend to lag far behind in the adoption of new things, especially if they take batteries or plug into the wall.
Recently, Google released the Google Wallet card to accompany their Wallet apps, and I think it has a place in our churches right now. Yes! Now! Before I get ahead of myself, what is the Google Wallet Card? Let’s dive in.
What is Google Wallet?
In a ridiculously small nutshell, the Google Wallet card is a single credit card that can be funded from any other card or bank account, linked to your Google Wallet account. Note the word funded. A major limitation of the card right now is that it does not automatically draw from the card source you have selected from the app, rather, you “transfer” money from a source to the card. It’s basically a fancy pre-paid card that you can charge up from any account. The service runs through Mastercard rather than Visa, and is accepted wherever Mastercad is.
The limitation I mentioned above can actually be an extreme advantage in a couple of different ways. First, if anyone were to steal the card, they would only be able to “steal” the amount of money on the card at the time (provided you don’t defund the card before they go to swipe). It also can have positive effects on your budgeting life. You could leave your debit card at home, and only fund what’s necessary for the week to your card to avoid excess spending. Or, you could get creative and use it at your church!
Getting Creative with Wallet
The Google Wallet card can be used in a variety of different ways for church purchases that average lay people could complete without direct access to the church card or check. Let’s say your a youth pastor prepping for a weekend event, and you’re crunched for time. You could fund enough cash to your Google Wallet card from the church’s bank account, and hand it off to the lay person to go and pick up supplies. Or even better, you could send funded money from your Wallet balance to theirs, and they could use their Wallet card to make the purchase.
These scenarios are much preferred to handing out your church’s card, since the lay person would not have access to the entirety of your church’s resources! The Wallet card is no carte blanche (see what I did there), and only contains the amount you fund to it via the Wallet app.
There could be some potential problems that rise up, issues of trust and the like. Overall, I think this could be a very easy and effective way of getting more done with less hassle. After all, isn’t that what technology is about?
You can request a Google Wallet card by logging into wallet.google.com and requesting one there, or download the Google Wallet app onto your device and follow the directions. Usually ships to your door in about 5 business days, but could take longer.
What do you think? What current process does your church have for making day to day purchases? Could the addition of a Wallet card streamline some of this process? Let us know in the comments below, or on any social media outlet.