Paying for merchandise using your smartphone via Near Field Communication (NFC) is all the buzz these days since Apple Pay was launched. A lot of people in the media gloss over the fact that Google’s Wallet app on Android has given us this capability for quite a while now, though. Despite this oversight in media coverage, one beneficial thing does come out of it: the momentum generated by Apple Pay should help Google with retailers that were initially hesitant in supporting mobile-based payments.
Apple Pay and Google Wallet aren’t the only products on the field, however. One company that is also offering the same NFC payment services is Softcard, formerly branded as Isis Mobile Wallet. (The name change was due to the company not wanting to be even remotely associated with the militant terror organization named ISIS.) Similar to Google Wallet, Softcard has been struggling to make headway in the payment sector, but unlike Wallet, Softcard has lacked the financial backing needed to keep it afloat while it waits for retailers to catch up.
Google, who has not really put a lot of work into making Wallet a bigger game-changer, is rumored to be eyeing Softcard for acquisition in an attempt to bolster Wallet’s weak offering to Android consumers. Softcard does have a few perks in its portfolio, which Google may find appetizing.
Google has just launched a new promotion for all Wallet users in the US. The search engine giant is offering to give both you and a friend $5 each in your Wallet Balance when you introduce your pal to the service. All you have to do is send a sum of money, which could be as little as “a penny,” to a buddy who doesn’t have a Google Wallet Balance yet, then when they claim the funds, you’ll each receive $5 free credit within 3 working days.
Hit the break for the full list of terms and conditions.
Isis Wallet announced back in July that it would be rebranding in order to avoid association with the violent Islamic militant group of the same name. Needless to say, associating a company with terrorists can be bad for business. Today, Michael Abbot, CEO announced that the new name for the company: Softcard.
If you own Google’s Glass device, sending money without even pulling out your smartphone may be coming your way via Google Wallet very soon. Through sources that work closely with Google, Google Wallet integration within Glass is in the works and they are already well into the testing phase. The service is already on certain Google employees, and after a few more months of testing, we could see it roll out to the masses No clear timetable has been given on its impending widespread release so stay tuned for further news!
Would this be a feature you would like to have on Glass?
Google gave a presentation at the recent Electronic Transaction Association’s trade show in Las Vegas. While they acknowledged that consumers have been slow to embrace the mobile payment service Google Wallet, they also said that they plan to stick with it.
Ariel Bardin, the chief of Google Wallet gave the presentation, and mentioned that when Google Wallet was launched it relied on NFC technology and only one carrier – Sprint – to push it. This limited the reach that the service had, and after a year it only supported one credit card and bank combination.
Google has announced a new feature for their Google Wallet app, the ability to scan a loyalty card with your device’s camera in order to add it to the wallet. According to Google, once you grab a pic of the card with your smartphone or tablet, the app will auto-populate the appropriate data fields. Currently the app will let you scan the barcode to add that to your wallet, but does not add the rest of the information like the merchant name or type of program. Google also indicated in their posting on their Google+ page that the program will now alert you via a notification if you are close to any merchants you have stored. Google says the update will be rolling out over the next few days and includes support for Android 4.0 or higher.
source: +Google Wallet
Google has really been ratcheting up their Google Wallet app the last few weeks. The release of Android 4.4 saw the ability for Google Wallet to be used for on any device regardless of the carrier, which was a major hurdle for Google to get past on the way to greater adoption. Earlier this week we saw Google release a physical card connected to a user’s Wallet account so they can make payments anywhere a debit card could be used. Google has now released an update to the Android app that adds the ability to add a credit or debit card to the account just by taking a picture with the device’s camera. Google claims the number and expiration date will be captured automatically. Hit the break for download links.
Many people who hear the word “wallet” connected to an app’s name may immediately jump to the conclusion that it can be used to make payments. That makes sense since Google has been playing up their Google Wallet app despite the reluctance of carriers to allow it on smartphones. Samsung announced today their own “Samsung Wallet” app that is in development to address some of the other stuff kept in a wallet besides credit or debit cards. The new app will keep track of tickets, boarding passes, and discount or loyalty cards. Samsung also indicates the app will have built in location awareness so it can let you know whether you have a card or discount available when you are near the retailer that issued the card.
More news this week about a physical card coming from Google to expand the functionality of the Google Wallet app. The latest leak was discovered on Google’s own web site in the help section for Google Wallet. On the page listing eligible devices, Google’s text indicated “Eligible devices for use with Google Wallet card” and then went on to note that any device running Android 2.3.3 or better could install the Google Wallet app to use with the new card. It appears Google has taken steps to scrub the page clean, but not before visitors were able to grab screenshots.
Google Wallet’s acceptance into everyday usage hasn’t been the smoothest, but has been picking up. With some carriers not allowing installs of Google’s NFC-based payment system, not everybody has been able to reap the benefits of living a potentially wallet-free lifestyle. So with such spotty acceptance, is there room for a competitor on this shaky ground? The makers (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile) behind Isis Mobile Wallet seem to think so. Consumers will finally get to try out the long awaited new service on October 22 in Salt Lake City and Austin.
Isis has a number of similarities with Google Wallet: When users sign up they receive a free $10 Isis cash card credit, along with accepting a wide variety of credit and debit cards. If Isis can negotiate wider acceptance of their application and offer a simple solution to increase the number of NFC payment terminals, their October 22nd might just be a success.