Google Wallet will be pre-installed on all Android phones supplied by Softcard partners AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless from “later this year”, Ariel Bardin, Google’s vice president of payments, has announced.
The deal applies to phones running Android 4.4 Kitkat or higher, suggesting that Google plans to make use of the host card emulation (HCE) technology it introduced in October 2013.
“We first introduced Google Wallet’s tap and pay feature in 2011, and since then, mobile payments have grown rapidly. You can use the Google Wallet app on Android devices, on any carrier network, to tap and pay anywhere NFC is accepted.
“Over the years, we’ve received great feedback from people who use this feature and we’ve continued investing to make it easy and secure for more people to pay with their phones. A big part of this is working with other innovators in the industry to help provide a seamless experience across a wide range of phones and stores.
“So today, we’re excited to announce that we’re working with AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, as well as their mobile payments company Softcard, to help more Android users get the benefits of tap and pay.
“Under this relationship, the Google Wallet app, including the tap and pay functionality, will come pre-installed on Android phones (running KitKat or higher) sold by these carriers in the US later this year. We’re also acquiring some exciting technology and intellectual property from Softcard to make Google Wallet better.
“From tap and pay to storing loyalty and gift cards to sending money to friends, we’ve been working hard to make the Google Wallet app even more useful to you — and there’s lots more to come.”
“For now, Softcard customers can continue to tap and pay with the app,” Softcard users are advised in a blog post. “We will share more information with customers and partners in the coming weeks.”