Google is reportedly is in talks to purchase Softcard, a mobile payments service in direct competition with Apple Pay, sparkling speculation the company may be readying itself to take on the consumer electronics giant. If the deal pushes through, Google will be paired with the biggest carriers in the United States in its bid to challenge the Apple Pay service in the burgeoning mobile payments industry.
Softcard is owned by AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile USA, but is currently searching for a buyer after making more than 60 employees redundant. Google offered $50 Million for the company, while PayPal and Microsoft have also reportedly expressed interest. Google Mobile payment service, Wallet was somewhat ahead of curve but has not made the impact the company may have hoped after key telecommunications companies, such as Verizon.
Softcard is taking steps to reduce costs and strengthen its business. This includes simplifying the company organizational structure and consolidating all operations into its Dallas and New York offices, which involves across the company. According to reports, Apple Pay could arrive in the UK in the first half of 2015, after the service US release back in the October 2014.
Google original vision for Wallet included a closed loop advertising system that would use purchases in physical stores to improve the targeting of digital ads. The plan was to share some of this ad revenue with the wireless carriers, but the companies could not agree on how to do that. A Google acquisition of Softcard could revive these types of advertising deals and put Google and the telecom companies in a better position to compete with Apple Pay.