Google Gears Up to (Seriously) Take On Apple Pay

Google Wallet, which was originally announced in 2011, will finally work across all four major US carriers later this year. Credit: Google

Google Wallet, which was originally announced in 2011, will finally work across all four major US carriers later this year. Credit: Google

Good morning. It's Tuesday, February 24th.

Here's what you should know today:

Google Wallet will be pre-installed and ready to use on nearly every new Android phone sold in the US by the end of the year.


Good morning to you on this bitter cold Tuesday. Google Wallet, the company’s Apple Pay competitor, is getting a huge boost thanks to a new deal with AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. Here’s what you should know.

Google Wallet was first introduced in 2011, years before Apple Pay. Google’s mobile payment technology is nearly identical to Apple’s, but failed to gain popularity in the US because—until now—it had only been available to Sprint customers.

The other three major US carriers has teamed up to back another mobile payment system, Softcard. Last night, Google announced that it is acquiring technology and intellectual property from Softcard, paving the way for Google Wallet to work across all four networks.

Google Wallet will come pre-installed on every Android device (running version 4.4 KitKat or newer) sometime later this year. When that happens, nearly every new iOS and Android smartphone sold in the US will support mobile payments.

While Apple Pay has been hugely popular among new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners, its growth has been hindered by retailers who haven’t upgraded to NFC-enabled registers. NFC, or near-field communication, is the wireless technology used by both Apple Pay and Google Wallet to securely share payment data. 

While NFC will inevitably become the standard for mobile payments in the future, upgrading in-store technology comes at a cos—and retailers have been slow to adopt it. It’s an issue Samsung is reportedly looking to address. The company recently acquired LoopPay, another mobile payment platform that takes advantage of the more traditional magnetic strip technology (which is used by more than 90% of US retailers).

We’ll likely hear more about Samsung’s plans for mobile payments when they announce the new Samsung Galaxy S6 on Sunday.


Drew Rapp

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