Google buys Softcard technology, signs Google Wallet distribution deal

Google logoGoogle is preparing to compete more intensely against Apple Pay, by acquiring mobile payments technology from Softcard. At the same time, Google has struck a deal with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless to have Google Wallet pre-installed on sold devices, the same group of carriers who backed the Softcard payments system in the first place.

The technology and intellectual property acquisition from Softcard, formerly Isis, will be used by the search giant to improve Google Wallet. While it picks up the IP, Recode reports that Google may not be acquiring any Softcard employees, nor the company itself. A blog post from Softcard notes that the NFC-based payments system will continue to work for the moment, with more details about its future set to be revealed in the coming weeks.

The distribution agreement will have the Google Wallet app included on Android KitKat or later devices sold from the carrier, starting from later this year. Much like Softcard, Google Wallet will allow users to tap and pay from their account using the app, which can also be used to manage store cards.

The combination of the acquisition and distribution deal helps Google in terms of accessibility two ways. Getting onto handsets by default can potentially encourage more users to use the system. On the retail side, the Softcard app is able to be used at roughly 200,000 merchants across the United States, including vending machines, McDonalds, and Subway, increasing Google Wallet's reach.

Google buys Softcard technology, signs Google Wallet distribution deal

It is unknown how much Google paid to acquire Softcard's technology, nor for the distribution agreement, though it is likely to be a relatively cheap price. Softcard has already laid off around 60 employees, consolidating its operations, with an earlier report suggesting it was hemorrhaging $15 million per month. By passing the technology to Google, the parent carriers effectively remove themselves from a financial drain.

The Softcard news from Google comes less than a week after Samsung announced it was acquiring LoopPay, in a similar mobile payments-related purchase.

It is unknown how much Google paid to acquire Softcard's technology, nor for the distribution agreement, though it is likely to be a relatively cheap price. Softcard has already laid off around 60 employees, consolidating its operations, with an earlier report suggesting it was hemorrhaging $15 million per month. By passing the technology to Google, the parent carriers effectively remove themselves from a financial drain.

The Softcard news from Google comes less than a week after Samsung announced it was acquiring LoopPay, in a similar mobile payments-related purchase.

Source: Electronista

Tags: Google

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