Google has purchased digital wallet software company Softcard, formerly know as Isis, to bolster its Google Wallet product as Apple Pay has begun to gain ground.

The deal will see Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and AT&T pre-install Google Wallet on their Android phones in the US later this year, as Google hopes to do away with the fragmentation problem Google Wallet has been suffering from. 

“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,” Softcard wrote on its blog.

The news, announced on the Google Commerce Blog, follows a report from the Wall Street Journal over the weekend that Google would purchase Softcard. The Journal said in its report that Google would unveil the bulk of details at its Google I/O developer conference in May.

Announced in 2010, Softcard is a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon that is based on NFC, like Apply Pay. Notably, Sprint is not part of the consortium. The CEO of Softcard is Mike Abbott, though Recode reports that it’s not likely any of the Softcard staff will be joining Google.

The Softcard mobile system has partnered with the Discover network and Barclaycard US.

Google Wallet has been available since 2011, but given the fragmentation of Android, it’s had trouble gaining full steam. While we’re still waiting on new numbers, ITG reported in December that Apple Pay is gaining ground quickly with a 1.7 percent share of the mobile payments market, since it launched in November, compared to Google Wallet’s 4 percent share.

Source: Google via Recode

  • Bugs Bunnay

    good luck google. you’ll need it.

  • Ray Pereyra

    Google should’ve been proactive years ago, too late now.

    • TwinSon

      They were doomed from the start. Too many OEM’s and different devices to every implement any kind of standard that could be enforced or supported.

  • TwinSon

    It’s crazy to me how long Google Wallet has been out vs Apple Pay, yet Apple Pay has exponentially more traction. I’ve used Apple Pay at Basha’s, AJ’s Fine Foods, Walgreens, Circle K, and Chevron regularly and most of the time people are floored when I tell them you can do it with an Android Device as well. Google’s never going to be able to catch up. Once they start adding movie chains like Harkin’s Theatre (only theatre I go to regularly) then it’s a wrap.

  • melci

    In terms of revenue however, ApplePay already completely dominates Google Wallet and Softcard/ISIS having captured a massive two thirds of mobile payment revenue in just the first three months on the market.

    Good luck Google competing with Apple’s behemoth as it rolls out to more iPhones in the USA and worldwide with the launch of the AppleWatch. Note also that many markets in other parts of the world are even more ripe for the picking having rolled out NFC PayPass terminals years before the USA.