Google to acquire Softcard technology in deal with major carriers
Google will be expanding the reach of its Google Wallet platform, and Softcard may be the way to accomplish this. Softcard is a joint venture from Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile, which was formerly known as Isis. The platform’s name was changed to avoid political issues that have emerged in recent years. Google has made a deal with the companies responsible for Softcard, which could help make Wallet one of the most popular mobile payments platforms currently available for Android devices.
Softcard technology could improve the Wallet platform and make it more attractive to consumers
According to the deal, Google will acquire Softcard’s technology, which Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile will pre-load Google Wallet on mobile devices that will be available in stores later this year. This could significantly expand the reach of Google Wallet, which had struggle to obtain consumer attention due to the launch of new mobile payments platforms, such as Apple Pay. The deal could also give Wallet access to better technology, which had previously been exclusive to Softcard.
Lack of NFC support cripples the growth of some mobile payments services
Google has had trouble finding traction in the mobile payments space. The company initially only had one device carrier that wanted to support the Wallet platform, while relatively few device makers opted to support the platform’s key technology: NFC. The low availability of NFC-enabled mobile devices made Wallet relatively unpopular among consumers because the platform required this technology to function properly. Softcard experienced similar problems, with retailers being slow to adopt the NFC technology needed to support the mobile payments service.
Deal may help Wallet compete with other mobile payments ventures
Those using Softcard currently will still be able to use the platform in the future. Google Wallet will begin integrating some of the features that Softcard has received praise for while Google continues to improve its mobile payments infrastructure. Wallet will still have to face competition from Apple and, potentially, Samsung, both of whom have expressed strong desire to become dominant in the mobile payments space.