“We are pleased to let you know that Google has acquired technology from Softcard to power the next generation of mobile wallets,” a statement on the Soft Card site reads. “What does this mean for you? As of 3/31 your Softcard app will no longer work. You can continue to use the Softcard app until 3/31. After that your Account will be closed. To keep using a digital wallet app download Google Wallet now.”
Apple Pay, which lets you pay at certain NFC-equipped cash registers with your iPhone, has been gaining traction with retailers. Paying with your watch could be even more convenient than paying with your phone, and Apple has been touting Apple Pay’s integration with the upcoming Apple Watch. At the moment, Apple seems to have a solid game plan for taking a big chunk of the mobile pay market.
Google is also building a game plan, but it faces different challenges than Apple, thanks to the variety of devices and services it needs to accommodate (say what you will about Apple, but having an iron grip on both hardware and software has given it an advantage in this market). Google Wallet, which is the current competition to Apple Pay, will soon be joined by Android Pay, a mobile payment API Google is building from the ground up with the experience it’s gained from Google Wallet.