Report: Google Wallet Hatching Makeover, Dangling Incentives for Carrier Support (Feb. 23, 2015)
Google Inc. is plotting another makeover for its 4-year-old Google Wallet, to be revealed in May at its annual I/O developer’s conference, according to a Feb. 20 report in the Wall Street Journal. Though details are scanty about how Google will fortify its wallet, clearly the pressure is on to revitalize the concept as Apple Pay continues to gain ground and Samsung strings its mobile payments arrow with LoopPay, a mobile payments startup it purchased last week.
Google Wallet was the first to market a mobile wallet available nationally, enabling users to tap to pay at NFC-enabled POS locations, but adoption was hobbled when the major mobile carriers failed to support it, favoring their own mobile wallet, now called Softcard. The concept has undergone several revamps since its launch in 2011, and Google reportedly is in talks to acquire Softcard. According to the WSJ, Google also is in discussions with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile about a deal that would pay carriers to promote Google Wallet within Android phones, with the possibility of sharing revenue from advertising revenue tied to Google searches on those carriers’ phones. Google Wallet’s makeover also could include incentives for banks and payments networks to support its mobile payments initiative, possibly via HCE, the report suggests.
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