Service ending following Google purchase of IP, technology
Softcard, the mobile payments service backed by carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile, will be closing completely by the end of this month. The company revealed that, following the purchase of its intellectual property and technology by Google, the Softcard app will cease working on March 31, with accounts automatically closing on the same date.
Android Pay rumor comes as Softcard pulls support for Windows Phone
Google will be launching a new payments API at its Google I/O developer conference in May, a report claims, potentially giving Apple Pay some stiff competition. Android Pay will allow developers to not only add mobile payments to their apps, but to also facilitate in-store purchases via smartphone over NFC. The news comes as Softcard reveals it is starting to pull support for its apps, following the purchase of its intellectual property by the search company.
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile to pre-install Google Wallet on new smartphones
Google is preparing to compete more intensely against Apple Pay, by acquiring mobile payments technology from Softcard. At the same time, Google has struck a deal with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless to have Google Wallet pre-installed on sold devices, the same group of carriers who backed the Softcard payments system in the first place.
Google adds Send Money option to Gmail in United Kingdom
Google is adding the Send Money option to Gmail in the United Kingdom. Originally available to US users since 2013, the option allows users to attach funds to an outbound email by selecting the £ symbol, which can also be used to request money, with funds transferred between users via Google Wallet. The feature is rolling out to all Gmail users in the UK over the age of 18 in the coming weeks.
Possible buyers include Google. PayPal
Softcard, a mobile payments system that preceded but competes against systems such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, was created as a joint venture with investments by mobile carriers AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. In the midst of Apple implementing near-field communications (NFC) for Apple Pay, along with internal struggles at Softcard, reports are surfacing that the mobile payment company is being sized up for purchase, potentially by one of its rivals.
Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Softcard, other NFC-based systems, EMV cards and more
Call it the omni-terminal: point-of-sale terminal maker Verifone has unveiled a new model, the PAYware Mobile e355, which the company says is compatible with all forms of mobile and traditional card payments, from simple magnetic stripe (currently widely used in the US) to chip-and-PIN EMV cards coming this year, and all forms of NFC-based payment systems utilizing iOS, Android or Windows Phone -- including Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Softcard and others.
Leather wallet case for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus now available in gray
Mujjo has introduced its Leather Wallet Case line-up for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in gray, as part of its Desaturated Collection. The wallet case is designed to hold two to three essential cards without sacrificing a thin profile. The case is available in two styles for iPhone 6 -- one with the card slot angled upright and the other with an 80 degree angle pocket -- and the 80 degree angle pocket case is available for iPhone 6 Plus. Pricing for the Desaturated Collection begins at $40, and cases can be purchased through Mujjo.
Won't use SSNs or driver's licenses, COO adds
The COO for MCX, Scott Rankin, has spoken to USA Today in an attempt to defend CurrentC, an upcoming mobile payment system that has taken flak for various policies, such as excluding Apple Pay and Google Wallet (and other NFC-based payment systems) at participating retail chains. He has said, in his trademark unclear manner, that the length of exclusivity is "closer to months than years," which suggests that some retailers signed on for CurrentC -- such as CVS and Rite Aid -- could begin accepting rival payment options by the end of 2015 or 2016.
Will test MCX executives' recent doublespeak claims on exclusivity
[Updated with MCX clarification] Rather than disable its NFC-compatible terminals and stop taking Apple Pay (or Google Wallet, or Softcard) mobile payments after a period of compatibility, grocery chain Meijer has said it has "no plans" to stop accepting NFC-compatible systems in its stores -- despite being a member of MCX's CurrentC program, which contractually bars competing systems. The CurrentC system, which does not formally begin until sometime next year, may try to impose fines as per its agreement with Meijers.
Will replace bank-sponsored system with competing mobile wallet platform next year
Following reader complaints of Rite-Aid stores no longer accepting Apple Pay or Google Wallet payments (following a brief period where both worked properly) and a "cone of silence" from PR representatives, leaked documents have revealed that the reversal by Rite-Aid on accepting NFC-based payments was deliberate, and that it may never accept Apple Pay, since it is planning to go with a rival mobile payments platform -- sometime next year.
Update adds real-time gift card balance updates, ability to request money in Gmail
Google Wallet issued an update today that gives users the ability to add gift cards and request (or send) money through the Wallet app. The addition grants another perk to using Wallet as it allows customers to carry even fewer cards with assorted balances or perks. Requesting money from friends and family, or sending them money using a debit card is now free of charge, unlike the previous version which charged the same 2.9 percent (minimum 30 cents) fee as when using a credit card.
US Domino's customers can now pay using Google Wallet
Pizza service Domino's has added Google Wallet to its payment options for US customers, available on Android. Beginning today, pizza orders can be placed through the Google Wallet app, and those who spend more than $10 will receive a free order of Specialty Chicken until June 15. New users can initiate an account directly within the Domino's mobile app, or through Google's own portal.
Google Wallet app for iOS and Android adds order histories feature
Google's Wallet app, available for iOS and Android devices, has received an update today. The new inclusion of its Orders feature allows users to track active online orders, as well as access past transaction history information in one centralized location. Once Orders is activated within Google Wallet, users can view any receipts sent to their Gmail account within the app.
Skitch iOS update restores PDF reading, markup support, web capture
The iOS version of screen capture and markup app Skitch (free) has been updated, mostly restoring features that were previously removed. Users can now once again open and read PDFs in the program, as well as markup and re-save a PDF (the latter feature requires an Evernote Premium account, however). Crop mode has been removed and various bugs fixed, and web capture has been added back in. Evernote, which bought Skitch two years ago, has dealt with continuing criticism over the company's changes to the program, which was originally created to quickly capture, annotate and share screenshots. Evernote Premium accounts cost $5 per month or $45 per year.
Balance accessible from ATMs, retailer terminals
Google has quietly introduced a physical credit/debit card for Google Wallet accounts. The card lacks its own NFC chip for tap-to-pay functionality, however it enables users to withdraw cash from an ATM or use their Wallet balance to purchase items from retailers that currently lack support for contactless payments from NFC-enabled devices.
App stores credit cards, protected with PIN
Google has finally released a Google Wallet app (App Store) for iOS devices, enabling iPhone and iPad users to store and manage credit and debit cards, loyalty programs and promotional offers. The iOS title serves the same basic function as its Android counterpart, except for the tap-to-pay feature that requires NFC hardware unavailable on Apple's mobile devices.
Rogers signs deal for customer use of Swisscom LTE in Switzerland
Rogers has signed an agreement with Swiss carrier Swisscom to provide LTE to its Canadian users. The first carrier in Canada to do so in Europe, the deal allows Rogers subscribers traveling in Switzerland to connect over Swisscom's LTE network, with the same happening to Swisscom users roaming on Rogers in Canada. Rogers has similar agreements with carriers in Hong Kong and South Korea, and plans to add more to the list.
Search engine partners with payment processors to aid transition
Today, Google made it known to its array of merchants that it is discontinuing the Google Checkout functionality, and migrating some existing users to Google Wallet. In a blog post announcing the move, Google called the Wallet product "a platform that enables merchants to meet the demands of a multi-screen world where consumers shop in-stores, at their desks and on their mobile devices." Users have six months to find an alternative solution, if not migrated automatically.
Carrier confirms ISIS support via Twitter
T-Mobile customers wanting to use Google Wallet are out of luck, as the carrier confirmed this week that it's blocking the mobile payment solution. Instead, T-Mobile wants its customers to use ISIS, a carrier-backed standard that is currently only available in two metropolitan areas. The confirmation marks T-Mobile as just the latest of the major carriers to block Google's standard as they prepare to roll out their own.
Google Wallet Card could have acted as credit card proxy
Google is dropping its proposals to augment its Google Wallet payment system with a physical card, ahead of changes expected to be announced at Google I/O, according to reports. The news comes at the same time as the head of Google Wallet itself, Osama Bedier, will be leaving the company to pursue "other opportunities."
Card would pair with app, take place of other cards
It would appear that Google is planning to augment its NFC-based Google Wallet payment system with a physical component in the coming weeks. Images have emerged online purporting to show off the new Google Wallet Card, which would be tied to a user's Google Wallet account and take the place of any credit cards a user also has attached to that account. The news comes amid rumors that Google was planning to update its Google Wallet app to include iPhone support, even though there are no iPhone or iOS device models that support NFC.
Suit relates to location-sensitive shopper rewards
In the wake of the Google Wallet update announcement, Google has been sued in the Federal District Court of Delaware for allegedly violating a patent related to technology for "encouraging customer patronage by providing awards to customers." The patent was originally filed in September of 2005, and issued on November of 2007. The lawsuit plaintiff appears to be the inventor of the patent, Peter Sprogis, with no information filed with the patent about transfer or sale to another party.
iPhone support would require major changes to the program
Google has deployed a new version of its website for Google Wallet, saying that the next version of mobile payment service is "coming soon." Visitors can request an invitation to the new service, and are presented with a device choice, either Android, other, or iPhone, suggesting Google is planning a departure from special hardware requirements on Android phones. The move may serve to enhance Google Wallet's acceptance in both the consumer base as well as merchants.
Move to accept all credit, debit cards seen as main reason
Google Wallet has seen a 100-percent increase in use in the last few weeks. The company is putting the change in user numbers down to the recent revision of the app, with the addition of supporting all credit and debit cards available to customers, and an increase in locations across the US accepting NFC-based payments.
Product lead wants phones as 'primary transaction device'
Google plans to expand its payment system to store other cards usually kept in a wallet, according to the leader of the team developing the technology. At present, Google Wallet keeps track of payment details and loyalty cards, but the head of Google Wallet product management, Robin Dua, wants it to also hold airline boarding passes, ID cards, gift cards and concert tickets.
NFC payment system moves to cloud-based storage
Google Wallet has received some major updates today. The mobile payments platform has opened up to accept all credit and debit cards from American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa, with financial data stored in the cloud instead of on the handset itself. Twenty five national US retailers have partnered with Google for the service, and through a partnership with MasterCard PayPass, mobile payments can be performed at over 200,000 retail locations across the country.
Update brings Google Wallet, boosts performance
Even though Google's Nexus 7 tablet hasn't shipped to customers yet, the device is receiving an upgrade to the newest version of Android, which has yet to be released itself. According to Android Central, Nexus 7 units handed out at this year's Google I/O have begun receiving an over-the-air update that improves performance and adds Google Wallet. It is as yet unclear whether purchased Nexus 7 units will ship with the update or receive it after shipping.
Limited stock expected at retail on April 22
Pre-orders for Sprint's version of the Galaxy Nexus, begun on April 16, may have reflected very strong demand. Earlier Thursday, the pre-order page indicated that inventory had been sold out for those not willing to wait until the April 22 launch. The exact quantities Sprint will have aren't known and make it difficult to gauge actual interest.
LG Optimus Elite ships to Sprint on April 22
Sprint on Tuesday confirmed some rumors and unveiled the LG Optimus Elite. The carrier's version of the Optimus Net, which will also have a Virgin Mobile equivalent, will be the most affordable US smartphone ever to support Google Wallet, costing just $30 on Sprint after a contract and rebate. Its support for the needed NFC is an exception to entry level specs, such as a 3.5-inch, 320x480 display, an 800MHz processor, and a five-megapixel back camera with none at the front.
Square nabs latest Google veteran for mobile tech
Square landed a key addition to its ranks Monday after Rob von Behren confirmed through his LinkedIn profile and a conversation with NFC Times that he had left Google for the newcomer. He had co-created Google Wallet, but left the project in January and decided to switch companies after hearing of Square doing "great things" in mobile payments. Von Behren's exact purpose at Square wasn't going to be made public outside of his general position.
Search giant continues Google Wallet push
Google has announced that it has moved to acquire TxVia, a company that specializes in mobile payment processing technology. In a statement, the search giant notes that the buyout will help the company "accelerate innovation towards our full Google Wallet vision," though the exact terms of the deal have yet to be publicly disclosed.
LG Optimus Elite seen early in press renders
One of LG's entry-level Android phones should reach Sprint and Virgin Mobile with a small twist based on leaks late Thursday. Photos of the Optimus Elite, Sprint's adaptation of the Optimus Net, showed PocketNow the 3.2-inch phone adopting a more conventional but very compact look. Both versions would stand out by being some of the least expensive Android phones yet to have NFC and, through Sprint's involvement, official Google Wallet support.
Google Wallet said struggling
Google may be looking to implement major changes to Google Wallet after getting little support, leaks might have disclosed on Wednesday. Having only ever earned support from Sprint, the search giant was said by Bloomberg to be looking at a revenue split to get AT&T or Verizon offering support. The proposal would give a cut of Google Offers coupons and other deals.
Problems said to be resolved
Google has begun distributing $5 credits to Google Prepaid Card accounts, after the fledgling Google Wallet NFC payment service encountered several problems. In response to a security vulnerability, the company had temporarily barred users from creating new cards and blocked the ability to reset the system.
Galaxy Nexus inches closer to Sprint arrival
An FCC filing from last week has shown that Sprint's Galaxy Nexus is getting close to release. Going under a very different codename of SPH-L700, instead of SGH-i9250 or similar for the original, the Android 4.0 phone's identity is given away by its combining 850MHz and 1,900MHz CDMA with the 1,900MHz LTE only Sprint will be using so far. The inclusion of NFC is the other giveaway that the device is a Nexus given how few Android phones have yet to carry the technology.
PayPal demonstrates changes to Digital Wallet
As expected, PayPal has demonstrated its newly redesigned Digital Wallet service. Two videos outlining the thorough changes to the service are embedded below, made by the eBay Ink blog. The desktop interface sports a plethora of options of how user can user their money, pay for purchases, and even split it into different accounts, or "buckets" as PayPal VP of global product and experience Sam Sharuger reveals.
Plans added services beyond traditional payments
In February, PayPal provided new details on how it planned to roll out its in-store payment services. The subsidiary of eBay plans to demonstrate at the SXSW conference in Austin how it hopes to distinguish its consumer-side digital wallet service from the competition, including Google Wallet and Isis. PayPal hopes to expand its attractiveness by offering more payment flexibility, generating wish lists, and providing greater account control.
Google brings back Play and Wallet for some
Google has sorted out a pair of significant glitches with Android content on Thursday. A new version of the Google Play Store is being pushed out over the air to fix an issue that broke links for Motorola users. While the store had always remained in place, it forced users both to contend with broken links and hunt for the app separately.
Google Wallet no longer supports rooted phones
Those with rooted Android handsets will no longer have the ability to use Google Wallet after an update that began rolling out this weekend. Droid-Life learned that a new yellow notification bar began appearing on rooted Android handsets with the Google Wallet app loaded onto them, informing the device is no longer supported. A link to a web page explains that the app won't work because the handset's security has been compromised due to the presence of "unauthorized" software.
Isis partners with payment hardware makers
Isis, which is due to kick off this summer, has now secured cash register and payment hardware makers VeriFone, Ingenico, ViVOtech, and Equinox Payments as partners. They have vowed to integrate the Isis Mobile Commerce Application wireless payments technology into their future products. Isis will use NFC technology for payments, digital couponing, location-based social media offers, and more. It's a competitor for Google's Wallet offering.
Target and Walmart join pact on NFC payment
Target and Walmart have joined in the development of yet another mobile payment system, insides gave out on Thursday. The two were said by Wall Street Journal's contacts to now be part of a group with about 24 member store chains hoping to create a standard that, though not directly named, would use NFC. Consulting firm BetterBuyDesign's Steve Mott corroborated the plan by revealing its involvement in the project, with word that big chains as well as drugstores, fast food restaurants, and vending machine firms were involved.
Expands tap-and-pay support to additional devices
Sprint will be adding to the number of its devices supporting Google Wallet. The wireless carrier used a panel discussion at the Mobile World Congress to reveal that it will offer support for the NFC-based mobile payment app on at least ten more smartphones or tablets during the course of 2012. Sprint currently has made the mobile payment system available on the Nexus S 4G and will support it on their soon to be released version of the Galaxy Nexus.
Chase, Capital One, Barclaycard first companies
Isis, the mobile commerce venture between AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have finalized their wireless payment standard for mobile devices, calling it Isis Mobile Wallet. It's due to launch this summer, with Chase, Capital One, and Barclaycard being the first banks to sign up and have their credit, debit, and prepaid cards be compatible with the system. The first merchants to support the system will be located in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas. Like Google Wallet, its major competitor, Isis Mobile Wallet let users securely pay for goods and merchandise with their handsets.
Google fixes prepaid card Wallet doubling issue
Google revealed that its has restored the ability to issue new prepaid cards to its Google Wallet as of Monday afternoon. The service was put on hold on Saturday as a problem allowed users to re-provision an existing prepaid card to another user. This issue has also reportedly been addressed, and Google said it hasn't recorded any known abuse of the flaw.
Google Wallet prepaid cards go down for now
Google quickly reacted to mounting Google Wallet security issues by putting a temporary freeze on new prepaid cards. While at least some existing users could keep paying with theirs, Google was preventing new uses as a "precaution" before it could get a surefire fix, Wallet VP Osama Bedier said in a post Saturday. He nonetheless insisted that Google Wallet had multiple security layers, ranging from its own PIN code requirement to an auto-wipe of local Wallet data if the phone is rooted after the Android app is installed.
Bug allows users to create new PIN
Yet another Google Wallet vulnerability has been spotted, just one day after security researchers published details of a similar issue that only affects rooted devices. The latest vulnerability is claimed to affect all Android devices, however, including those running stock software.
Google working quickly to fix bug
Researchers at security firm Zvelo have released details surrounding a Google Wallet vulnerability that is claimed to leave a user's PIN data exposed. Engineers were reportedly able to develop a crack that quickly determines a user's four-digit PIN, which serves as an essential security layer to prevent the NFC system from transmitting card data without authorization.
App no longer invisible on Android Market
The GSM version of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus appears to have added official support for Google's Wallet app, which now appears in the Android Market for AT&T subscribers. Early buyers were able to run the NFC payment app, however the title was invisible when attempting to search for it in the Android Market directly from the phone.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Sprint takes signups
Google has posted a signup page for the Sprint version of the Galaxy Nexus. Potential early adopters can get information about when the Android 4.0 phone hits the carrier and also might get news of "Nexus products, services, and features." Those who put in a ZIP code can get locations for shops when orders start.
Sprint to move phones wholesale to 4G and NFC
Sprint in commentary during CES confrimed that it was dropping WiMAX on smartphones. The initial LTE smartphones were ultimately representing a full-scale switch to the technology for 4G phones, PCMag was told. The carrier was being more aggressive than it had suggested before and, when promising LTE in mid-year, had meant between January and June, Owens explained.