A short while ago, Google announced a new partnership with Softcard (formally known as ISIS). According to the press release, the search giant has purchased “some exciting technology and intellectual property from Softcard to make Google Wallet better.”
Along with the purchase agreement with Softcard, Google has also agreed to a huge distribution deal with three of the four major U.S. carriers. This deal will mean that – from some point later this year – T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T Android phones will come with Google Wallet pre-installed, complete with tap-and-pay functionality.
“…we’re excited to announce that we’re working with AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, as well as their mobile payments company Softcard, to help more Android users get the benefits of tap and pay.”
With Apple Pay seeing huge adoption rates across the U.S. (and soon internationally), it’s clear Google wanted to build a more competitive solution to take on Cupertino. With Softcard’s technology, Google could improve its own Wallet offering and give it a revival. That’s not to mention Samsung’s plans to bring its own proprietary service to market having purchased LoopPay recently.
Having initially had its tap-and-pay service blocked by carriers, Google has certainly found an innovative way around the problem. Softcard wasn’t taking off, despite carrier support. But, with Google Wallet being a much larger service, but with the same technology, the potential to reach a much wider market is clearly there. Whether or not this becomes a significant competitor to Apple Pay is yet to be seen. But with the number of Android phones sold in the U.S., it’s the best chance the market has to see real competition.