Google Wallet $200K Campaign Launched and Ended

The wallet wars are just getting crazier. Google wallet has already spent $400-500 Mn dollars. But if the earlier investment was not enough, Google just pumped in $200K more. A campaign was launched where a Google Wallet user could gain a $5 credit by introducing a friend/peer to Google Wallet.

This credit worked if a user sent money to someone who didn’t yet have a Google Wallet Balance. The receiving user could then claim the money by creating a Google Wallet account. Once this was done, both sending and receiving users would each receive $5 credit within 3 days. The promotion was launched for a limited numbers users and for a limited period. It has now ended as cited by Google through Twitter.

The promotion gave credit to the first 20,000 referrals and was intended to run until this month end. Upon sending money to a new user, the Google Wallet user was notified whether the promotion was applicable for that transaction. There were certain terms and conditions that Google had put up regarding the promotion:

  • Users on both sides of the transaction had to be U.S. citizens
  • Both users had to verify their identities
  • The user, who sent money, had to have a Wallet Balance
  • For the user, who received money, it had to be the first time in creating a Wallet Balance
  • A Google Wallet user could introduce as many as 20 peers and get credits for each transaction

Getting the math right, Google must have spent around $200,000 as part of the promotion. Also, some Google Wallet users might have earned, at the most, $100 through the promotion. The identity-verification process was done in order to avoid dummy accounts. Regarding the transaction, Google Wallet users were allowed to send as low as one cent to other users to claim the promotion. There was no set rule on the minimum transaction amount required to avail the benefit.

Google offered a similar promotion when it launched the Google Wallet service three years back. It was giving away $10 to new Google Wallet to begin with. With the current promotion, Google is also leveraging the Apple Pay effect in promoting NFC based mobile payments. As per a recent research by Stratos, 30% of U.S. smartphone users intend to ‘tap-and-pay’ during the holiday season.

The objectives of this limited promotion are not clear. Clearly, if Google wants to raise awareness for Wallet truly compete with Apple Pay, it needs to do more than a $200k trial campaign when hundreds of millions of investment is yet to provide a meaningful return.