Google Lands Carrier Mobile Payment Deal Using Softcard’s TechnologyGoogle Lands Carrier Mobile Payment Deal Using Softcard’s Technology
Google will buy mobile payment technology from Softcard to secure a distribution deal with Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and AT&T to pre-install its Wallet platform on Android-based smartphones.
February 25, 2015
Google (GOOG) said it will buy mobile payment technology from Softcard to secure a distribution deal with Verizon (VZ) Wireless, T-Mobile (TMUS) and AT&T (T) to pre-install its Wallet platform on Android-based smartphones.
Google Wallet works in much the same way as does Apple’s (AAPL) Pay in that customers use their phones rather than bank cards to pay for goods and services at checkout stands in physical stores.
“Under this relationship, the Google Wallet app, including the tap and pay functionality, will come pre-installed on Android phones (running KitKat or higher) sold by these carriers in the US later this year,” wrote Ariel Bardin, Google Payments vice president, in a blog post. “We’re also acquiring some exciting technology and intellectual property from Softcard to make Google Wallet better.”
Softcard, which the three carriers founded in 2010, said in a blog post that “for now” its customers can still use the app to “tap and pay,” suggesting that a change is in the offing at some point. With the three carriers tying themselves to Google Wallet it appears fairly clear that Softcard’s future is in doubt.
Still, Softcard said that Google’s acquisition of its technology is a “positive step forward for the mobile payments industry and wireless consumers.” Softcard uses NFC (near field communication) technology to transmit payment information.
Neither the carriers nor Google or Softcard indicated if any of the latter’s employees will be joining Google as a result of the deal.
Google’s deal with the carriers for its Wallet platform comes on the heels of Samsung’s purchase of LoopPay, a two-year old digital wallet startup whose technology Samsung will embed into its smartphones. LoopPay’s Magnetic Secure Transmission payment system converts in-store payment terminals that typically accept credit cards into a reader of its technology, meaning stores and restaurants don’t need special equipment to accept LoopPay payments on enabled mobile devices.
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