Confirming rumors that Google was looking to acquire Softcard, the company has announced that it has entered an agreement with the telecom coalition that owns Softcard to acquire some of the services technology and have Google Wallet pre-installed on smartphones from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Considering how Google Wallet and Softcard used to be at each other’s throats in the mobile payments market, this just shows how serious of a threat Apple Pay is that the two are actually working together.
We first introduced Google Wallet’s tap and pay feature in 2011, and since then, mobile payments have grown rapidly. You can use the Google Wallet app on Android devices, on any carrier network, to tap and pay anywhere NFC is accepted. Over the years, we’ve received great feedback from people who use this feature and we’ve continued investing to make it easy and secure for more people to pay with their phones. A big part of this is working with other innovators in the industry to help provide a seamless experience across a wide range of phones and stores. So today, 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. 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.