Google in talks to purchase Apple Pay competitor Softcard, report says

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2015
A report on Friday claims Google is looking to strengthen its mobile payments solution with the purchase of Softcard, an NFC-based system backed by major U.S. wireless telecoms.




Citing sources, TechCrunch reports Google has shown interest in buying mobile payments company Softcard, formerly known as ISIS, at a deeply discounted sub-$100 million price tag in what could be an IP grab.

A joint venture backed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, Softcard -- and its horrifying "Tappy" mascot -- was created to introduce Android and Windows smartphone users to contactless retail payments. The service offers support for American Express, Chase, Wells Fargo and other large financial institutions and is currently accepted at over 200,000 merchants across the U.S., the publication said.

Despite capital infusions totaling "hundreds of millions of dollars," Softcard has yet to catch on with consumers and is bleeding cash. The payments company axed about 60 people from its workforce earlier this month, according to the report.

In November, Softcard CEO Michael Abbott said Apple Pay boosted interest in the general mobile payments sector, noting a marked increase in Softcard app downloads. Because the two contactless systems incorporate NFC, point of sale terminals capable of processing Apple Pay are also likely to support Softcard. Abbott said transactions spiked after Apple Pay launched in October.

Although Apple Pay and Softcard are based on the same wireless protocol, the services process transactions in completely different ways. As reported by AppleInsider, Apple Pay transactions use a tokenization method that passes generated codes between iPhone and POS terminal, ensuring sensitive credit card information is left out of the process. Softcard, on the other hand, stores credit card data on a user's SIM card and transmits those numbers to a POS terminal for processing.

While the exact reasoning behind Google's alleged deal has yet to be revealed, sources believe the Internet search giant is after Softcard's patent cache, currently numbered at more than 120. Another possibility is a play to gain access to merchants not currently served by Google Wallet.

Google and Softcard have both declined to comment on the rumor.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    pistispistis Posts: 247member
    In other news Google glass is dead as many people on here predicted
  • Reply 2 of 26

    What does Google get for the $100 Million?

    Google Walet is already similar to Softcard and neither use "tokenization" so may be it is for the patents.

     

    Considering that PayPal sued Google for stealing the Google Wallet technology from them.

    Google may wish to replace Google Wallet's technology with Softcard.

     

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/27/technology/paypal-sues-google/

    http://mashable.com/2011/05/27/paypal-sues-google-wallet/

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-26/paypal-sues-google-over-trade-secret-theft-claims.html

  • Reply 3 of 26
    ...Softcard, formerly known as ISIS…

    Little known fact, ISIS changed their name to Softcard because didn't want to be associated with the terrorist organization, but the other ISIS also changed their name to ISIL because they didn't want to associated with the US carrier's idea of a mobile payment system. If you turn my clearly jokey comment into a FUCKING political debate I will come at you like Jack Bauer in the last hour of a long day.

    Considering that PayPal sued Google for stealing the Google Wallet technology from them.
    Google may wish to replace Google Wallet's technology with Softcard.

    That's an interesting hypothesis. I'd like to see that idea explored (either yea or nah) some more.
  • Reply 4 of 26

    Why would anyone buy Softcard for IP?

     

    Just use the newest EMVco technology that Apple Pay uses. Then Google Wallet would be just as secure, convenient and private as Apple Pay is.

     

    No, wait. Google could no longer mine your transactions if they switched, so it's doubtful they would. Who cares about customer security and privacy?

  • Reply 5 of 26

    If Google does acquire Softcard I can already see the headlines.  "ApplePay threatened by Google's new payment system running on at least a billion Android devices. ApplePay is in deep trouble."  Anything that Google does with Android is always considered a threat to Apple's iOS.  Never the other way around.

  • Reply 6 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,828member
    What does Google get for the $100 Million?
    Google Walet is already similar to Softcard and neither use "tokenization"

    Google Wallet uses "tokanization. ". Apple's use of it is certainly a better way tho.
  • Reply 7 of 26
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Google Wallet uses "tokanization. ". Apple's use of it is certainly a better way tho.

    I'm printing and framing that along with your other two comments that don't make Google out to be superior. :D
  • Reply 8 of 26
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Little known fact, ISIS changed their name to Softcard

    Softcard = Syrian Organization For Terrorism, Crime, And Radicalization of Devotees?
  • Reply 9 of 26
    NFC chips have a secure element. From what I can tell Apple uses a 3rd-party NFC chip. I wonder if this same chip can also be used for storing biometric data securely?
  • Reply 10 of 26
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



     -- and its horrifying "Tappy" mascot -- 

    You got that right! Wow! Who approved that?

     

    Click for disgusting larger image.

     

    Better?

  • Reply 11 of 26

    DAMNIT mstone. DONT FUCKING DO THAT PUT UP A WARNING OR SOME THING

    Walking Dead and True Blood are less disgusting. 

  • Reply 12 of 26
    DAMNIT mstone. DONT FUCKING DO THAT PUT UP A WARNING OR SOME THING
    Walking Dead and True Blood are less disgusting. 

    Are you being serious? That anthropomorphized NFC device is really that visually foul to you?
  • Reply 13 of 26
    mstone wrote: »

    OMG it's like Clippy's half-step-brother. The one Microsoft said it would call if they ever needed additional Microsoft Office Assistants, but never did.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,001member
    OMG it's like Clippy's half-step-brother. The one Microsoft said it would call if they ever needed additional Microsoft Office Assistants, but never did.

    More like a bizzaro Clippy :lol:
  • Reply 15 of 26
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    mstone wrote: »

    Jim Henson's Muppet studio is responsible. Clearly they need to change their psychotropics over there.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    solipsismy wrote: »
    NFC chips have a secure element. From what I can tell Apple uses a 3rd-party NFC chip. I wonder if this same chip can also be used for storing biometric data securely?

    As I understand it (with some unclear bits) ...

    The Secure Enclave on the iPhone 5S and later is used to store the biometric data for TouchID.

    The Secure Element on the NFC chip on the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Apple Watch store the user's account number used to generate the token.

    On the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the System software pairs TouchID authorization and NFC authorization to accomplish Apple Pay within a single device.

    The Apple Watch can determine if the Watch has been removed from the wrist (not in continuous contact with the skin.).

    Assuming here ...

    When you put the Apple Watch on your wrist:
    • It will ask if you want to be paired with a TouchID iPhone (iPhone, 5S, 6, 6 plus) if available within range
    • or it will ask if you want to be paired with a supported non-TouchID iPhone if available within range
    • you can authorize the paring using TouchID or a passcode

    Then, when you use the Apple Watch to Pay with Apple Pay, the watch:
    1. receives the NFC payment request
    2. gets the available payment methods (credit/debit cards) from the iPhone
    3. selects a payment method
    4. gets the secure, one-time transaction token from the iPhone
    5. pairs it with the Account number on the Apple Watch to generate the payment

    Likely, the payment method will be preset by the customer to default to the preferred payment method -- bypassing steps 2 and 3
  • Reply 17 of 26
    flaneur wrote: »
    mstone wrote: »

    Jim Henson's Muppet studio is responsible. Clearly they need to change their psychotropics over there.

    Cookies ... :D



    [VIDEO]
  • Reply 18 of 26
    pistispistis Posts: 247member
    I can't remember which versions use tokanization but only the newer ones of android do which means that a heck of a lot of android phones don't have that capability which makes it a huge liability
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Google Wallet uses "tokanization. ". Apple's use of it is certainly a better way tho.
  • Reply 19 of 26
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    As I understand it (with some unclear bits) ...

    The Secure Enclave on the iPhone 5S and later is used to store the biometric data for TouchID.

    The Secure Element on the NFC chip on the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Apple Watch store the user's account number used to generate the token.

    On the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the System software pairs TouchID authorization and NFC authorization to accomplish Apple Pay within a single device.

    The Apple Watch can determine if the Watch has been removed from the wrist (not in continuous contact with the skin.).

    Assuming here ...

    When you put the Apple Watch on your wrist:
    • It will ask if you want to be paired with a TouchID iPhone (iPhone, 5S, 6, 6 plus) if available within range
    • or it will ask if you want to be paired with a supported non-TouchID iPhone if available within range
    • you can authorize the paring using TouchID or a passcode

    Then, when you use the Apple Watch to Pay with Apple Pay, the watch:
    1. receives the NFC payment request
    2. gets the available payment methods (credit/debit cards) from the iPhone
    3. selects a payment method
    4. gets the secure, one-time transaction token from the iPhone
    5. pairs it with the Account number on the Apple Watch to generate the payment

    Likely, the payment method will be preset by the customer to default to the preferred payment method -- bypassing steps 2 and 3

    FYi, ?Watch works with iPhone 5 and 5c too. I'm curious where credit card information is stored on those devices though.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    rogifan wrote: »
    FYi, ?Watch works with iPhone 5 and 5c too. I'm curious where credit card information is stored on those devices though.

    It has no NFC chip so it's not stored on those devices. :no:
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