If you opened up Google Wallet today, you may have noticed there's an extra $5 sitting on your pre-paid card. It turns out it's not a glitch, it's compensation from Google Wallet in exchange to the provisioning hassles the service has been experiencing this year. In an email to all customers, the company writes:
We are happy to announce that you can now add the Google Prepaid Card back to your wallet with the newest version of Google Wallet, and any funds that you previously had on the card should be restored, unless you contacted Money Network and asked for a refund of those funds. To add the Google Prepaid Card back, you will first need to update your Google Wallet application to the most recent version.
If you're not up on the entire Google Wallet saga, here's a quick re-cap. On February 9th, it was discovered that it was trivial to access Google Wallet prepaid accounts on a stolen phone by clearing the app's data and re-provisioning it. Google disabled creating new cards, then re-enabled that but let re-provisioning disabled, then re-enabled the whole thing by securing it with a Google Account password. If you've been living through this entire ordeal as a Google Wallet customer, five bucks seems like the least the company could do.
Getting back to Google's language in its apology email, we find it a little strange. As of this writing, that "latest version" language doesn't jive with reality, because the last update we're seeing in Google Play came on February 29th. Currently, the version we're using (version 1.1-R52v7) behaves the same way today that it did on March 8th when we first reported that re-provisioning cards worked again. It's possible to re-add pre-paid cards, but only after encountering an "error" message that makes you re-enter your Google Account credentials. That's not exactly ideal behavior, so perhaps this new version that Google is referring to will, in fact, be released on Google Play soon and will present a more understandable prompt during that process.