Google strikes deal with carriers to pre-install Wallet

Steven Loeb · February 23, 2015 · Short URL:

Google also acquired technology and intellectual property from mobile payments app Softcard

Though Google Wallet has been around a lot longer, having debuted all the way back in 2011, Apple Pay somehow seemed like a much bigger deal. And the reason for that is simple: Apple manufactures its own phones, and so it could simply put the new service on millions of devices without breaking a sweat. Suddenly, Apple Pay was everywhere.

Google, of course, doesn't make its own phones and couldn't simply install the software whenever, and wherever, it wanted. As such, Google Wallet has been seen as something of a disappointment, mainly due to high competition and lack of availability.

That might be changing soon, though, as Google has figured out a way to remove Apple's intrinsic advantage by inking deals with some of the world's largest carriers.

The company announced in a blog post on Monday that it has cut a deal with AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, as well as their mobile payments company Softcard, to have the Google Wallet app come pre-installed on Android phones that they sell. This will begin sometime later this year, but no definitive date was given for when users can expect it.

"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," Google wrote. "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."

In addition, Google also announced that is has acquired "some exciting technology and intellectual property from Softcard to make Google Wallet better."

The deal between Softcard and Google are kind of sketchy right now, it seems, with not much detail about what exactly Google purchased.

Here is how Softcard worded it in its own blog post:

"We have some important news to share: Softcard has completed a deal with Google to bring together leading technologies to advance mobile wallets. Google has acquired Softcard technology and capabilities to power the next generation of mobile payments," the company said.

"For now, Softcard customers can continue to tap and pay with the app. We will share more information with customers and partners in the coming weeks."

VatorNews has reached out to both Google and Softcard for more information about the purchase. We will update this story if we learn more.

With these deals, Google Wallet will no doubt reach a much wider audience than it is currently seeing. Whether that translates into higher usage obviously remains to be seen. But one thing for sure: Apple really lit a fire under Google, and now the company is finally ready to take payments seriously.

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