Softcard shutters services following Google purchase

After being acquired by Google, mobile payments firm Softcard is closing down.


Softcard is ceasing trading and closing customer accounts in the coming month following acquisition by Google.

The company, a joint venture between AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile and Verizon, announced Wednesday that its mobile application will shut down on 31 March. In addition, all customer accounts will cease to function on this date.

Last month, Google revealed a partnership with AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile in which Android handsets sold by the carriers would come bundled with Google's mobile contactless payments system. In return, Google agreed to buy Softcard's technology and patents -- which have no doubt been swallowed up in Android Pay and Google Wallet development.

Softcard aimed to create a platform to connect traders, banks, tech giants and brands in the retail sector. The joint venture's mobile app allowed users to make contactless payments at shops across the US, earn loyalty points and find discounts.

However, after launching officially in 2013, adoption was lacklustre due to the complicated nature of setting up the service and the app's incompatibility with some Android handsets. In addition, the joint venture was forced to rebrand from its original name Isis in order to distance itself from terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain this week, Google unveiled a mobile payments service dubbed Android Pay. The payments API gives companies the option to add in-store and in-app payments to third-party apps and allows consumers to store their credit card information to make one-click payments. The API will link to Google Wallet, creating a more seamless payment process.

Mobile payments have become a hot topic in the past several years. Google and Apple became contenders in the same space after Apple launched the Apple Pay system last year, which has already been adopted by many companies in the United States.

Read on: In the enterprise

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