Google has announced that it’s partnering with US carriers AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless and their mobile payments company Softcard to help make Android users get better tap and pay functionality. They also added that they’ll be acquiring technology and IP from Softcard to make Wallet better, which might be of more interest to those of us in the rest of the world.
Google has stated that under the partnership, Google Wallet and its “tap and pay functionality” will come pre-installed on Android phones running Android 4.4 and higher sold by the three carriers, at least in the US and starting later this year. Getting Google Wallet to work reliably across the major US carriers has been a major hurdle to the company’s mobile payment aspirations, so this will be welcome news for its users.
As for Australia? Well, despite Google Wallet sort of working here, we’re still out in the cold. Softcard’s influence doesn’t reach far beyond US shores, but the technology and IP might help Google bring mobile payments to other countries. It’s worth remembering though that Google Australia’s Managing Director said last year the company has no intention of rolling out the service here.
Furthermore, under the partnership Google will be acquiring some exciting technology and intellectual property from Softcard to help make further enhancements to Google Wallet. Ariel Bardin, Vice President of Payments stated in the blog post on Google Commerce that ‘the team has been hard at work making Google Wallet app even more useful to users with lots more to come.’ What exactly that means for Google Wallet is anyone’s guess.
The mobile payments space is hotting up though – last week, Samsung announced its acquisition of LoopPay, with the intention of using its technology to build its own mobile payments service.