T-Mobile Android phones to come pre-installed with Google Wallet “later this year”


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.

Source: Google
Via: Re/code


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  • TheVorlon

    “Having initially had its tap-and-pay service blocked by carriers,…”

    Yet another example of how the carriers keep screwing their customers.

  • kalel33

    Cam, you also didn’t include that Google will be giving a cut to the carriers. The carriers blocked Google Wallet and tried to force their own payment system. They didn’t block Apple, because carriers are scared of pissing off Apple. ISIS failed and Google bailed them out by buying their failed endeavor and now Google is being extorted to have the privilege to run their own payment system on their own OS. Google needs to take a page from Apple and be a little more pushy with the carriers.

    • Trevnerdio

      Completely agree. I hated having to hack Google Wallet onto my phone, and even then, I couldn’t ever update the app, or Tap-to-pay wouldn’t work anymore. Softcard is extremely limited and just a sad excuse for a payment system. Sorry that I use two of the biggest card companies, Visa and MasterCard…apparently, that’s too hard to adopt.

  • VG

    Didn’t Samsung just acquire LoopPay? I wonder how this is all going to pan out on the Android platform.

  • Sorin Lazarescu

    places where i shop often: vons, chevron gas pump, restaurants. none of these take wireless payments. i tried to use both google wallet and isis at best buy. neither worked. the terminal said the card number was invalid. i was able to get a free coke from a vending machine once using isis. until the wireless payment method is spread to all stores, having google wallet on my phone is another thing to uninstall once i root my brand new tmobile phone.

    • Deadeye37

      The market penetration is starting to pick up. I live in Utah (test market area for when ISIS was just starting) and I’ve noticed things have expanded greatly since I first tried out ISIS. I can now use it at several fast food restaurants, movie theaters, grocery stores, Home Depot, Maverick gas stations (at the pump) and a few other places. Basically any place that takes Apple Pay will also take Google Wallet because its all NFC payment and the service providers connect to those networks.

      • Sorin Lazarescu

        I was hoping wireless payments would take off when Apple Pay came out but in San Diego it is not the case. I buy movie tickets at the automated ticket booths at Edwards and AMC. Neither take wireless payments. Chevron and Shell do not take wireless payments at the pump. Even Costco doesn’t take wireless payments, altho this might change once they dump AMEX as the exclusive credit card they accept. It will be a very long time until retailers change their credit card terminals to wireless enabled ones. I went to pay for the oil change at my BMW dealer that had a wireless payment terminal. They told me I can’t use wireless payments because it is not setup yet. WTF is the point of having that terminal if it isn’t setup!

    • eAbyss

      It should spread along side Apple Pay and businesses won’t have much of a choice in not supporting it as card reader suppliers start dropping the non-wireless models.

  • Justsomecommentor

    Nothing should be pre-installed on Android phones. Just saying.

    • kalel33

      So no Google Maps, Google Now, or Gmail?

      • Justsomecommentor

        Google’s apps are not really a problem, but even then, should still be optional. For instance, I don’t need Google games. Regardless of who makes the apps, they should be removable in order to save space. Disabling only shuts down the apps, does not remove them.

      • itguy08

        I barely use Google Maps cause the usability sucks (ironically, I prefer Waze). Google now is OK but the only thing I use it for is travel time to home from work, and I could do without Gmail as I have a real e-mail address I use.

        • Oliver Jackson

          I use HERE Maps.Way more better and you can use it offline

    • eAbyss

      Nothing non-Google should come pre-installed on Android devices.

  • kgraham182

    Ya yea, more bloatware. Google should demand everyone that want the playstore, must preinstall ever google app while they at it as well. Also TMO should not sell a phone without a NFC chip or front facing camera.

  • Deadeye37

    Hallelujah! I think this could get things to take off for Google Wallet. My biggest issues with Softcard was that fact that they went with a “big boys only” mentality, so only certain cards can be used. Most people aren’t going to open a Chase card or AMEX Open account just so they can pay with their phone. Letting me pay with Google Wallet where I have my cards already setup, however, is a much better idea! In a perfect world, we would have all the special offers from Softcard be effective for Google Wallet users.

  • Ordeith

    If only there would be some announcement that T-Mobile Android phones would come without Carrier IQ spyware preinstalled.

    • Mr Paul

      Well if they remove it, then what will T-Mobile’s execs have to do with their spare time? Listening to just customer calls is too boring.

  • kev2684

    FINALLY. Sprint was the sole carrier that allowed their branded phones to use Google wallet’s tap to pay feature. other big 4 didn’t because of softcard (formerly ISIS)

    AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile were the reason why Google Wallet never took off. now that Apple Pay is out, companies started to take mobile payments seriously.

    now can we finally use our mobile number as our Google Voice number like Sprint too?

    • itguy08

      Really? I’ve got a branded phone from T-Mobile and use Google Wallet… It’s a pi$$ poor experience.

      • Chris

        I’ve used Google Wallet quite often and I actually get asked by cashiers or people in line as to what I just did and how awesome it is.

        Sure, it’s not supported everywhere “yet”. But that will come. Like kev2684 said, lots of companies never took mobile payments seriously until Apple marketed and partnered the shit out of all the banks. Wells Fargo keeps advertising using their card with Apple Pay.

        That’s what google lacked. They never partnered with anyone else. They kind of just let the project move a long at it’s own pace.

      • Dan

        yes, you have google wallet, but you don’t have the tap and pay functionality. Anyone can have google wallet app and use it to pay for apps in google play, or to purchase merchandise from the internet.

        • itguy08

          Yes, I do have Tap and Pay. Use it quite a lot at the grocery store (Wegmans). Use it somewhat at McDonalds.

          This is with a T-Mobile Galaxy S5….

        • Tim

          How could you possibly think that? That problem was eliminated LONG ago when they made some security change. I’ve been using Google Wallet on Verizon since the App came out (I used to have to download the apk to get it to work) and then Google made a major change that used internet authentication and it bypassed what was preventing it from working easily.

        • Tanner

          Google fixed that problem with kit kats new setup that was baked. Carriers couldn’t block it anymore.

    • eAbyss

      The issue originally was that carriers were disabling NFC in devices sold by them. They stopped that practice a while ago though so it’s no longer an issue. Users have been able to use tap and pay for a while now.

      • Andrew Paul Moulton

        That was *one* issue. There were also loads of phones shipped with google wallet tap-to-pay working, and had the feature rescinded later on.

  • archerian

    Good thing they changed the name to Softcard

  • StankyChikin

    About time.

  • Nearmsp

    It is good to see Google making the push. Both Apple Pay and Google wallet together will push the market and everyone will have a choice. I must credit Apple for pushing this though. It scared the hell out of the phone companies that were playing games with Google wallet. Google should come out with an App for iOs too.

    • donnybee

      More than anything, I couldn’t agree more. Everyone has their favorites, and that’s cool, but it does nothing to sit and argue about them. The fact is the competition is driving innovation and adoption. So before anyone goes to bash what they don’t like, they need to agree that what they do like wouldn’t be what it is without the competition. Period.

  • Tmo1082

    You can hate on Apple but almost anything they do turns to gold. Even if not a new idea Apple can make the idea go from average and failing to success. I think most of it is due to the following they have a the trust that their customer has in them. Just how smart watches haven’t taken off but you can bet that Apple will sell a lot of them and people will by the latest model every year no mater how many flaws it has.

    • kalel33

      Apple maps? Siri has been surpassed by both Google Now and Cortana. Apple is a marketing machine and they have complete control over what apps are required on phones.

      I don’t think smart watches will take off like you think they will. I love tech but I don’t ever see myself buying a smart watch and none of my friends have ever even talked about it.

    • donnybee

      Apple operates on the philosophy that they want to be best instead of first. I disagree that everything they touch is gold (I prefer Google Maps to Apple Maps, love some features of Chrome over Safari; although I still use Safari a lot), but I do believe that Apple’s approach has been successful 9 times out of 10 and that I’d rather use a more complete product or service last than a first-to-market one.

  • 21stNow

    I’m missing these huge adoption rates for Apple Pay. No one that I know has come to me and told me that he/she tried it (most of my friends and close co-workers know that I’m a mobile payments fan). I never see anyone use it when I go to stores. Most cashiers that I run into are still unfamiliar with any mobile payment system.

    I still use Google Wallet; I never set up Apple Pay, though I might try it in the near future just to give it a shot.

    • donnybee

      Apple Pay is great. I use it whenever it’s available to use and haven’t been more satisfied with a payment system.

    • Honest Abe

      I haven’t seen a single soul use Apple Pay in suburban Boston. This despite the high number of locations like Starbucks and Whole Foods that are explicitly advertising Apple Pay compatibility.

      Taking a credit card out of your wallet takes as much effort as grabbing my cell phone and unlocking it. So I’m not a fan of this phone as payment method push anyway.

    • ronjon400

      i have used apple pay about 3 dozen times. all transactions went perfect with no issues. Subway and home depot being my 2 favorite places to use it.

  • Lance

    The manufacturers should simply stop allowing providers to bloat phones with apps that the end users cannot uninstall. The availability of updates would be consistent with every model across all providers. They can make their apps available without forcing them down our throats.

    I like google wallet so i downloaded it after T-Mobile stopped blocking it. They should have never been able to block what apps I use on my phone to begin with. Just like they shouldn’t be able to stuff my phone with bloatware before I ever power it on.

  • mmunson

    This means T-Mobile needs to have the NFC compatible sim cards added to all their devices instead of having to call their call center for them when you switch devices.

  • kgraham182

    You got to love Google. Buys a mobile payment company on Monday, ends support for the mobile payment company app on windows phone Wednesday. Do No Evil, right.

    • Iamnumber6

      Don’t Be Evil, Bend to Evil. Same difference. I guess google hates MS. Or their customers.

  • Does anyone knows what is the status of Google Wallet with t-mobile devices in NA? Still confuse if t-mobile investment in SoftCard limits the use of a better and more intuitive service. It’s a ridiculous way for t-mobile to force their users to use only their service.