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Google The Almighty Buck

Google Wallet May End Up Inside Your Actual Wallet 190

Posted by timothy
from the one-neck-to-wring dept.
Several outlets are reporting, based on screenshots posted by Android Police that Google is (or "may be" — CNet calls the report "loosely sourced") about to introduce a lower-tech variant on its smartphone-based Google Wallet payment system. Instead of transferring payment information from an NFC-equipped phone, this would mean a physical payment card (like a conventional plastic credit or debit card), but one linked via Google's databanks to the user's existing bank or credit accounts. Upsides: less to carry, a simple way to suspend or cancel service on them (should the card be lost or stolen), and doesn't require you to carry your phone to make a credit or debit transaction — handy, since NFC readers are still thin on the ground. Downside: while perhaps no worse than putting the same information on your phone, it's one more step toward giving a third party all of your personal information in one place. A card that fits in a wallet probably makes a lot of sense: I live in a city with at least three pay-by-phone options in trials or fully available (CitiBank, Isis, and Google Wallet), but I can't buy ice cream or coffee with them yet. And there's no reason a card-shaped token couldn't use mag-stripes and NFC, too.
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Google Wallet May End Up Inside Your Actual Wallet

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  • cash (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:29AM (#41872873)

    why you can't just pay in cash your coffee?.

    • Re:cash (Score:5, Funny)

      by Sponge Bath (413667) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:03PM (#41873133)

      why you can't just pay in cash your coffee?.

      Using currency is so last century. Might as well tie an onion to your belt grandpa.

      • Re:cash (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:11PM (#41873203)

        cash gives us privacy over our transactions.

        "we can't have that, now, citizen! be a good little sheep, agree to the Shiney(tm) we give you and stop questioning what our end goals are."

        hey, if you are too dumb to realize you are being played, maybe you deserve to be played. come back in a few years and tell us how good it was for you to surrender your buying habits to google or some other behemoth.

        • Most places have security counters watching the tills.

        • by Type44Q (1233630)
          How did this get modded "flamebait??" Sarcasm side, this is common sense.
        • be a good little sheep

          Unfortunately, a sheep that behaves abnormally ends up in someone's dinner rather quickly.

          • be a good little sheep

            Unfortunately, a sheep that behaves abnormally ends up in someone's dinner rather quickly.

            "They've got you by the balls!"

            - George Carlin

        • cash gives us privacy over our transactions.

          "we can't have that, now, citizen! be a good little sheep, agree to the Shiney(tm) we give you and stop questioning what our end goals are."

          hey, if you are too dumb to realize you are being played, maybe you deserve to be played. come back in a few years and tell us how good it was for you to surrender your buying habits to google or some other behemoth.

          I use cash whenever possible. Most people I find don't understand the value of using cash. But I think they'll miss it when it's gone.

        • Re:cash (Score:4, Interesting)

          by stdarg (456557) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:30AM (#41880811)

          I've used a credit card for every purchase that I can for several years now. Not only that, I signed up with Mint to explicitly track my purchases. Not only credit cards, but loans and bank accounts too.

          If you had asked me a few years ago to "come back in a few years and tell us how good it was for you to surrender your buying habits to google or some other behemoth" -- well, I would be coming back right now to let you know. So here it is.

          It's great. My purchases are automatically organized into categories for budgeting purposes. I get targeted ads that give me suggestions for saving money or making more money. For instance, Mint might say something like "Your savings account pays X%, you could make more if you switched to Y Bank." I ignore 90% of these because after switching the first time, it's not worth switching again for a tiny bit more.

          Do you have a reason for thinking that the next few years will be worse than the last few years?

      • Cash is anonymous (Score:5, Informative)

        by aepervius (535155) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:20PM (#41873249)
        As long as any replacement isn't fully anonymous, I will be a luddite on principle on matter of money. The potential for abuse and tracking are too great.
        • Now if only more places would take bitcoins you'd have more pseudo-anonymity and be cashless. While there is a credit card tied to bitcoins they still follow the normal rules of credit cards so that isn't as private.
    • I don't understand this trust in google type companies and phone type companies. They are the least trustworthy of all the untrustworthy companies, except maybe comcast type guys. Everyone has been douched around by their cell phone provider. And as far as google goes, what we have to remember is that we are not their customer. The people that buy their data are their customer. Do you think that will change with their adding new services? These guys have repeatedly shown they aren't interested in serv
      • by Belial6 (794905)
        The same could be said for every credit card. At worst, you could say that Google is as bad as other existing credit card providers.
    • by Dr Max (1696200)
      Because then Google wont know how you spend every penny. Don't you ever think about other people like the advertising giants, they have feeling and goals as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    As if I'm going to accept $100/m + x% transaction fees so you can buy a $1.00 icecream without cash.

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      I see people with a large, interest heavy balance on their credit cards doing just that.

      We're basically talking about google becoming a credit card company, with all the historical cartel & usury evil attached.

      • by osu-neko (2604)

        We're basically talking about google becoming a credit card company, with all the historical cartel & usury evil attached.

        Um, no, we're not. That's almost as stupid as saying printing paper money with golden color ink is "basically talking" about returning to the gold standard. Just because you carry something in your wallet doesn't make it a credit card, even if you can swipe it in all the same places.

  • Downside: while perhaps no worse than putting the same information on your phone, it's one more step toward giving a third party all of your personal information in one place.

    If you use Google Wallet then Google has all this info anyway. The point made that it's easier to cancel this is also valid though, so I think on balance this may be a good thing. Presumably the information won't be stored on the card itself? Or will it? How does Google Wallet work? (I don't live in a country where we can use it)

  • Around your ass... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DogDude (805747) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:36AM (#41872935) Homepage
    This is called "going around your ass to get to your elbow". Cash works fine.

    Besides, what's with everybody wanting to continue to make payment processors of all kinds, obscenely wealthy? Doesn't anybody think, that every time they use their plastic, that you're giving Visa/MC 2-3% of your purchase? I feel like the massive expansion of cards and payment processors (paypal, amazon, google, etc.) is an Idiocracy type of thing. It's freaking me out that people are so fucking stupid.
    • by grumling (94709) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:03PM (#41873135) Homepage

      But that 2-3% is invisible to the customer. The only time I've seen any effort to point that out is with the few-and-far between gas stations that offer a cash discount. The only problem with them is that they tend to have a higher price to begin with.

      • by DogDude (805747)
        That's my point. Out of sight, out of mind. 2-3% of every purchase goes to a handful of very, very, very, very large companies, and almost nobody seems to care.
        • by rtaylor (70602)

          Pick up a little piece of these very large companies; use the 1% dividend they pay you to cover the 2-3% they charge you.

        • by SScorpio (595836)

          They still make money even if you use cash. A business depositing cash pays around 1.5%-2% in fees due to handling. As a consumer the only logical thing is to only use a rewards cards where you draw some benefit from your purchases. The places you shop still take a hit for this, but that's the cost of doing business.

      • You can also tell when stores have a minimum purchase requirement for credit.
        In many states it is illegal to charge more for a credit transaction, however it is not illegal to offer a discount for using cash... it would be interesting to see stores offer a "2% discount on all cash purchases!" deal.

        Generally I pay cash at independent stores and credit at chain stores... if the price is the same, paying cash is effectively subsidizing those who would pay by credit. The credit card charge is built into the p

        • by CastrTroy (595695) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @01:37PM (#41873709) Homepage
          You forget that there's also a cost associated with using cash. You have to worry about employees and customers taking that money. You have to find a safe way of transporting the money to the bank. For businesses, banks will also charge you service fees for the privilege of depositing money into your account. You also have to go through the trouble of ensuring that you always have proper change for customers who use cash. Sure there are many expenses when dealing with credit cards and other non cash payment systems, but it's not as if dealing in cash is all fun and games.
    • I agree to some extent, however, in reality, with credit cards offering cashback and other rewards, it works out costing me less to use a credit card than it would to use cash. I hate that Visa and MC are getting rich from this but by protesting and stopping use of my card while everyone else carries on, I end up subsidising their discounts. The only way I can see to get around this would be for everyone to protest together or for all merchants to implement credit card surcharges.
      • by DogDude (805747)
        The only way I can see to get around this would be for everyone to protest together or for all merchants to implement credit card surcharges.

        Visa and Mastercard made sure that this was illegal in the US a long, long time ago. I wonder if Visa/MC buys their Congresspeople with cash, charge, or debit?
        • by Vicarius (1093097)

          Visa and Mastercard made sure that this was illegal in the US a long, long time ago.

          Every time I go to a gas station I hope that what you said was a reality. Apparently lawyers are not very good with math and while prohibiting surcharges they are still allowing discounts, e.g. you can't ask customers to pay extra 10 cents for using credit card but you can charge "everyone" 10 cents "extra" and give 10 cents discount for cash payments.

      • by Mitreya (579078)

        The only way I can see to get around this would be for everyone to protest together or for all merchants to implement credit card surcharges.

        I buy most of the things I own online. Protest/surcharge/etc only work for your local brick-and-mortar merchant where paying cash is an option.

        Buying something by mailing a check is a terrible experience which is worth 2%-3% surcharge to avoid.

    • Simple economics, using a card essentially gets the cardholder a discount. I get about 3.5% on purchases that aren't subject to any special deals or 'categories'. Using cash actually incurs fees, either find your particular bank's ATM, pay a fee, or switch to another bank. Besides that, after paying with cash you're left with heavy, noisy, coins. Sure, on the few occasions I'm forced to pay cash that change goes to the nearest tip jar, but that means I'm paying an even higher penalty for using cash. I'm not
    • Doesn't anybody think, that every time they use their plastic, that you're giving Visa/MC 2-3% of your purchase?

      You think there is no cost involved in handling cash? Cash is expensive to count, sort, deposit, track and prone to theft. Sure you are paying the credit card processors a few percent but merchants incur pretty much the same cost due to the overhead of handling cash. Seriously, cash is a major pain in the ass for merchants and that cost gets passed on to consumers. There's nothing wrong with paying cash but there is plenty of overhead involved with it.

      • by DogDude (805747) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:45PM (#41873369) Homepage
        Seriously, cash is a major pain in the ass for merchants and that cost gets passed on to consumers

        You're completely wrong. As a merchant, cash is the cheapest way to get paid. Cash doesn't cost 2-3%. Nowhere close.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by foofish (10132)

          Cash takes extra record keeping. Cash takes somebody counting the drawer. Cash requires somebody to drive the deposit to the bank (or an armored car staff to pick it up). These may not be charges per transaction, but they're still things you'll have to pay someone to do when handling cash.

          • by DogDude (805747) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @03:22PM (#41874427) Homepage
            I understand that. I'm a brick and mortar merchant. All that doesn't come anywhere close to 2-3% of sales.
            • by MattskEE (925706)

              I understand that. I'm a brick and mortar merchant. All that doesn't come anywhere close to 2-3% of sales.

              Do you have an estimate of how much it does cost you as a percentage of the cash revenue?

          • You are missing one of the greatest upsides of cash - you can keep a healthy percentage of your income totally off the books. Using cash means taking money out of Uncle Sam's wallet, which I think many can agree is a good thing.

            • Just watch your back, that IRS can be crafty. Years ago a local barber was audited. They decided he was paying too little in taxes based on the towel service he used, one haircut per towel was more income than he declared. He settled that and started doing his own laundry.
    • by godrik (1287354)

      I do not pay these 3% myself, so I do not care too much about it. Also, all these transaction give me back 1% of the transaction. Finally, it allows me to have an automatic log of everything I buy which simplify my (rough) personal acconting.
      Why should not I use a credit card? There is no downside for me.

      If the shops cared about that fee, why do not they offer me a disconut for cash payment? (maybe that's illegal?)

    • by swillden (191260)

      Cash works fine.

      At least in the present world, cash is sub-optimal. Not only is it less convenient, but you miss out on a lot of potential kickbacks.

      For example, I have an AMEX card that pays me 6% cash back on grocery store purchases. Given that I have four teenagers and an insane monthly grocery bill, that's real money, to the tune of about $800 per year I get back. I get 3% back on gas, which pays me another $150 annually. I get 3% back on Amazon.com purchases using my Amazon card. I get 1% back on everything els

    • by N1AK (864906)
      It depends on your definition of fine. Personally I prefer to spend on card rather than with cash:
      I don't have to carry around coins and notes
      I get an automatic record of my transactions making it easy for me to monitor my spending
      I get the protections that come with buying with a credit card but pay the same as I would with cash (the retailer is giving Vise etc 2-3% and it won't change unless there is a mass shift to cash by everyone)
      I get cashback on the majority of my spending

      I can understand the
  • by bjwest (14070) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:40AM (#41872961)

    Why would I need another card in my wallet to duplicate what my banks check card does?

    • by schitso (2541028)
      The idea is that instead of carrying several credit and debit card, you carry one card that charges whatever your currently active GWallet card is.
      • by tftp (111690)

        The idea is that instead of carrying several credit and debit card, you carry one card

        Channeling xkcd:

        1. You have two cards in your wallet.
        2. You get a Google card to combine the two cards into one.
        3. Now you have three cards in your wallet.

        Google is trying to solve a problem that does not exist.

        • by schitso (2541028)
          No, it'd go more like this:

          1. You have five debit/credit cards in your wallet.
          2. You get a Google Wallet card to combine all the cards into one.
          3. You now have one card in your wallet and five cards stored somewhere safe.
          • by tftp (111690)

            There is, though, something that you will miss if you have only one card. You cannot decide what charges go to what card. For example, I have one company c/c, one personal c/c and one bank charge card. I cannot combine the first two, obviously. The latter is used for authentication when I visit the bank. This leaves me with the same three cards, plus the Google card.

            Also, not everyone is so fortunate to have unlimited credit and infinite supply of money to pay it off. They know when billing cycles occur

          • by Vicarius (1093097)

            No, it'd go more like this: 1. You have five debit/credit cards in your wallet. 2. You get a Google Wallet card to combine all the cards into one. 3. You now have one card in your wallet and five cards stored somewhere safe.

            In the end you will have to carry more than one card plus cash, because you cannot predict what payment method you will need, since not all merchants will accept your universal card, whatever card it might be, and not all merchants accept cards (thus the need for cash).

    • by p0p0 (1841106) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:56AM (#41873089)
      I think the general plan is that you could unify different accounts onto this card and access them all just from the Google Wallet card. As well in the event of you losing the card, all it would take is the deactivation of this one card instead of multiple cancellations from multiple institutions.
      • by SeaFox (739806)

        I think the general plan is that you could unify different accounts onto this card and access them all just from the Google Wallet card. As well in the event of you losing the card, all it would take is the deactivation of this one card instead of multiple cancellations from multiple institutions.

        True story: Last night I lost my debit card. I left it in an ATM after the transaction. I realized this less than a half-hour later after a little grocery shopping and called the bank to cancel it. It will be annoying not having debit card access to my checking account for a week or so while a new one is sent to me, but I still have my credit card.

        With Google's card if someone had my card they'd have gained access to all my accounts at once.

        • by schitso (2541028)

          With Google's card if someone had my card they'd have gained access to all my accounts at once.

          This is completely wrong, unless they also broke into your Wallet account at the same time.

          • by SeaFox (739806)

            This is completely wrong, unless they also broke into your Wallet account at the same time.

            My first though is: how difficult do you think it would be to socially engineer a Google support employee for the Wallet login details if you called with the card?

            Okay, I guess I'm just confused then. If I can only use my Google card to access a single account, what does the Google card gain me over just carrying the pre-existing card I have for that account (besides letting Google collect my purchasing history for ad tailoring).

            I can log into the Internet and change the account it draws from? That's more h

    • you don't need this.

      google *wants* this, though.

      do we appease them and just roll over and feed them more info about ourselves?

      cold day in hell! many of us already realize that companies like that have far too much info on us as it is. we already give too much info to visa/mc but we kind of have little choice since they practically own the card credit world. but there's zero reason to give google a new place in this market. more players is NOT going to make anything better for us serfs. no up side to th

    • Why would I need another card in my wallet to duplicate what my banks check card does?

      Isn't the point of Google Wallet to combine all your existing cards into one card? Thought, I doubt this will work for the ATM part of your card. According to the article I read at least, the card will have a magnetic stripe and will work on all existing credit card processing machines.

    • Why would I need another card in my wallet to duplicate what my banks check card does?

      Because then you can leave your debit/credit card at home. If your wallet gets lost you log into your google account and detach the credit/debit card from your google card. While you still have to replace the google card it provides a potential layer of security. Also the google card provides the same effect as having a forwarding email address. You can change the bank card behind the google card without having to go to 50 different merchants to change the card they have on file. Actually pretty conven

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Google has invented the credit card!

      Google is usually pretty good about giving you something cool to encourage you to give them your information. This... hey, give us access to your bank accounts and let us track your transactions and you get this cool Google wallet card! How is that different from the credit and debit cards I already have? This one says "Google" on it!

  • It is more secure (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    With the Android phone, you have to worry about a very large attack surface area. With a Google wallet device, you do not have to worry about your latest download of Angry Birds keylogging your PIN entry field and performing a man-in-the-middle to steal all of your money.

  • by OldKingCole (2672649) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:50AM (#41873043)

    No thanks. I'm fine with my credit card company, who haven't, on even a single occasion sent an EULA update allowing them to harvest my information for whoever knows what reason, and do not try to harvest my phone number sugar coating with "security concerns in case I lose my password".

    This company has grown too large and is WAY too much intrusive in its current form.

    For those of you with nothing to hide, please try to picture the following scenario: Google opens an HR company, specializing in delivering EXACTLY the person you like for the job. By which criteria? ENDLESS! They can practically deliver a person who has no interest in porn, spends 30% of his online time reading /. and likes the color Blue! They have all this information owing to their damned tracking cookies and gmail reading.

    Call me paranoid, but I'd like to fall into the category of "No known bank account" at Google inc. Do no evil my ass

    • and do not try to harvest my phone number sugar coating with "security concerns in case I lose my password".

      heh - you noticed that, too, huh?

      "but puh-LEEZE, we NEED your phone number!"
      "no"
      "ok. here's your login screen. sorry we bothered you. (but not really)"

    • by Mitreya (579078)

      I'm fine with my credit card company, who haven't, on even a single occasion sent an EULA update allowing them to harvest my information for whoever knows what reason,

      I occasionally receive very thick updated "user and privacy agreement" from my credit card. It's in very small font and I usually get bogged down half way through reading it. But I am pretty sure they are talking about "occasionally" sharing info with affiliates and their affiliates' affiliates.

      do not try to harvest my phone number sugar coating with "security concerns in case I lose my password".

      My credit cards harvest my cell phone number by sugar coating it with "a way to contact you in case of suspicious activity on your account". Not to mention that they already have my home number from the application

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      No thanks. I'm fine with my credit card company, who haven't, on even a single occasion sent an EULA update allowing them to harvest my information for whoever knows what reason, and do not try to harvest my phone number sugar coating with "security concerns in case I lose my password".

      What bank is that? I want to join!

      My banks all send me occasional policy updates which I have little choice but to accept since it is almost impossible to live without a bank account. They quite openly give me details to other companies with no opt-out, call me and stuff every envelope they send my way full of adverts for crap I have no interest in. They need my personal details, phone number, multiple passwords and pins, mother's maiden name etc.

      And of course they know what stuff I own because anything exp

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      For those of you with nothing to hide, please try to picture the following scenario:
      Google opens an HR company, specializing in delivering EXACTLY the person you like for the job. By which criteria? ENDLESS! They can practically deliver a person who has no interest in porn, spends 30% of his online time reading /. and likes the color Blue! They have all this information owing to their damned tracking cookies and gmail reading.

      It's funny. But I think I would find someone who has no interest in porn suspicious (unless they were married).

      I've just seen too many movies where the mad bomber/murderer/antagonist is some wacko who "seems like a diligent, quiet person" to his co-workers, but is really obsessed with purity and cleanliness. And then the police go raid his house and find he's keeping the body parts of his victims in the fridge, or was stockpiling biological weapons or something.

  • Obligatory xkcd link [xkcd.com]
    I for one find this cartoon incredibly insightful and disturbing (and I do use google services, although I wish I wasn't).
    • by Nemyst (1383049)

      The only good thing about Google versus, say, Facebook, is that there's always a way of taking your data out of Google's platform. I know I backed up my Gmail account a while ago, just as a test, and it worked fine. Likewise for Drive and all that. The worst bit would be working with an Android phone that doesn't have a Market link, but even that's possible, if inconvenient, by using sideloading.

      Good luck getting your stuff out of Facebook, however!

  • With all those stupid discount cards, there's no room anymore.

  • by mbkennel (97636) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @01:36PM (#41873705)

    What problem does this technology and initiative solve? Whose problem does it solve?

    As far as I can tell the only problem these things "solve" is that some intermediary wants to take some of some other intermediary's free money.

    There seems to be no benefit to the person they are trying to convince to use it, unless the competition lowers interchange fees to merchants and merchants pass some of it back. And that is about as likely as new developments in simian rectal aviation.

    • by Animats (122034)

      Whose problem does it solve?

      Google's. Their "anal probe" approach to acquiring customer information doesn't work for in-person purchases. They're trying to roll up the "affinity card" business. Payment is just something they handle to get their hooks into your transaction data.

      Unless you have really crappy credit, why would you need more than one credit card? I have one personal credit card, one business credit card, and an ATM card. If you want to borrow money, credit cards are a terrible loan deal.

    • by forand (530402)
      Well if it combines cards that is one nice solution I would enjoy. Carrying around a fat wallet is a pain, it causes cloths to wear out faster, and can even cause sciatica. Plus it is just a waste of resources to have 15 plastic cards when I should be able to just have one. Smartphone customer card apps have helped solve this problem but I, for one, would love to reduce the number of credit, debit, and ATM cards I have to carry around.
      • by mbkennel (97636)

        Except that it won't reduce the number of such cards. If you stick your Google Card into a random ATM, will it work? No. What's the chance that it will work in a large number of places? Zero. Will it ever? No, because all the card acceptors which expect a single account number to come up won't know how to read something which has multiple account numbers and requires a choice from the user. All the varied card acceptor software systems won't be upgraded to allow this, especially if many of them come fr

  • it's pretty absurd a company that understands this future feels a need to move backwards

    it's like early car companies building rocket skates for horses

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      it's pretty absurd a company that understands this future feels a need to move backwards

      It's really not Google's fault, though. They have to move backwards because the world is not moving forwards.

      ...but, I can't help note the reason the world cannot move forwards is because it requires cooperation from everyone. In other words, a standard for NFC payments that is open and free for all to use.

      It is only corporate greed and their desire to own the system in a way they get a cut of everything that prevents any one NFC system from becoming that standard. They all think if they make enough retail

      • exactly

        if the standard protocols used on the internet were zealously guarded and a corporation attempted to control them and charge access for them/ require deals/ conditions to use them, we would have no internet today

        a shame

  • by water-and-sewer (612923) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @04:14PM (#41874679) Homepage

    I like keeping things separated, and the idea of consolidating all services, databases, and resources into my smartphone scares me. As such, I'll be adding this technology to my "Do Not Want" list.

    Right now, if I leave my phone at the beach or it drops from my pocket while getting out of the car, whoever finds it has nothing more than a couple of bucks worth of credit, and the dozen or so numbers in my address book. He won't even be interested in the hardware, which has no resale value.

    I have interest in making my cellphone so valuable because it's linked into my credit line, etc. that people will want to kill for it.

    The more I see how the 21st century is shaking out, the more I want to pay for things with cash and live in a cave in Montana with a weapons cash. And I'm only 41 - not old enough to tell you to get off my lawn yet, just old enough to see we're heading the wrong way.

    • by swillden (191260)

      Right now, if I leave my phone at the beach or it drops from my pocket while getting out of the car, whoever finds it has nothing more than a couple of bucks worth of credit

      What if you leave your wallet at the beach, or it drops from your pocket?

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