In an effort to halt the march of Apple Pay and Samsung’s impending entry into the market, Google has snapped up the Softcard mobile payments company owned by a trio of major US networks.
The deal, announced on Monday, sees the AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile-founded company come under Google’s umbrella, while all of the carriers' new devices will feature a pre-installed Google Wallet app from this autumn.
It could prove a major breakthrough for Google in the increasingly competitive contactless payments sector, given it had previously been met by resistance from the mobile networks when attempting to get the venture off the ground.
“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. We’re also acquiring some exciting technology and intellectual property from Softcard to make Google Wallet better,” Google’s VP of Payments, Ariel Bardin wrote on Monday.
The fee Google paid for the five year old company (which understandably changed its name from ISIS a little while back) is undisclosed, but comes at a crucial moment for the company.
Apple is doing well - perhaps better than expected - with Apple Pay, while Samsung’s recent purchase of LoopPay positions the company perfectly for an assault on mobile payments.
The latter may even announce its mobile payments platform as soon as this Sunday when it unveils the Galaxy S6 smartphone at MWC 2015.
Google’s efforts may soon feature a revamped version of Wallet, which only requires the customers initials in order to make the payment. Reports this month say Google is testing a new, Bluetooth-based, contextually aware service which will enable payments without even scanning the device on an NFC-based reader
The big three companies in the mobile world are positioning their pieces. Who’s your favourite to come out on top?