Over the past few weeks, there were rumors on all of the major tech blogs about Google's possible acquisition of the multiple carrier backed SoftCard Mobile Payment System (formally ISIS). With the rise of usage and promotion of Apple Pay, it seemed like Google needed to up its advertising and promotion game with Google Wallet to gain market share of devices and use of its Mobile Payment system.
Google announced today that they will be working with AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless to bring Google Wallet to all Android Phones with KitKat or higher. They also announced that with the acquisition, they will be:
Could this mean the return of Token Based NFC payments like Apple Pay? Token Based NFC payments is the method that Apple Pay uses where a one-time-use token is generated and passed to the contactless payment terminal. In this way, the credit card details are never passed directly to the vendor to better protect to the customer. This method also directly ties to the credit card so that points and cash back rewards are accurately accumulated. The original inception of Google Wallet had a Token Based payment but it was changed later to a Virtual MasterCard Debit card after carriers blocked the usage of Google Wallet on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in favor of their Token Based NFC Payment system. Sprint is the only US carrier who supported Google Wallet.
Perhaps this acquisition will push Google Wallet to world-wide support, as Apple Pay is set to debut in the UK sometime this year. We will have to wait an see what's in store when Google makes it's Google Wallet announcement during Google I/O in late May.
TechCrunch is reporting that Google is rumored to be in talks with Verizon T-Mobile and AT&T backed SoftCard. TechCrunch says the deal is supposedly under $100 million which would be a great bargain for Google to gain more patents in the contactless mobile wallet world. SoftCard is reportedy in a consolidation phase in their business and has already laid off about 60 percent of their workforce. TechCrunch reports that Microsoft and PayPal are also trying to acquire the mobile payment company.
Disney has announced that the Walt Disney World Resort will start accepting contactless payments (including digital wallets) on December 24, 2014. As part of the MyMagic+ retrofit, the payment terminals at food and retail establishments now have an NFC reader. This allows for the use of Google Wallet, Apple Pay and SoftCard along with RFID enabled credit cards and MagicBands/MagicCards.
The MyMagic+ experience is enabled by the purchase of a MagicBand or MagicCard. Guests staying at the resort will be able to make purchases by tapping their MagicBand or MagicCard, that is tied to their payment card, on the payment terminal. They will also be able to use those devices to reserve FastPass+ spots and use it as a key to enter their resort room. Embeded within the MagicBand is also a Bluetooth transmitter that helps Disney track guests around the park and possibly customize their park experience in the future.