Google is reportedly in talks to buy Softcard at a steep discount



After rumors that Samsung was in talks to buy out BlackBerry, we’re now getting wind of another big acquisition. The folks at TechCrunch seem to have it on good authority that Google is engaging in talks to buy up mobile payments company Softcard for less than $100 million to help bolster their own NFC payment service, Google Wallet.

Softcard — formerly Isis Mobile wallet — was a joint effort by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile looking to corner the mobile payments market, but more recently, has been in a “consolidation phase,” laying off more than 60 employees as they attempt to strengthen their business by cutting costs and reorganizing their business structure. Apparently morale within the company is at an all time low, with some employees no longer even showing up for work.

While neither Google nor Softcard would comment about an acquisition, it’s worth pointing out that sub $100 million dollar amount being thrown around is significantly less than the hundreds of millions of dollars the big 3 carriers had originally invested into a company once looking to compete with Google Wallet and Apple Pay. Sources say at one point, Softcard’s burn rate was around $15 million a month.

Other companies said to be licking their chops over Softcard is PayPal and Microsoft, with the possibility of even AT&T or Verizon taking the struggling company under their wing. As for Google, they are more or less eying Softcard’s treasure trove of patents, which tips the scales at around 120 in all. Well, applications anyway. We’ll let you know when we hear more.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. This shows how ignorant AT&T, Verizon and T-Mob really are trying to go against Google in the first place

    If SoftCard is for sale, Google will be in the market to buy

  2. I think the whole CurrentC thing will have to fall through first. There are a bunch of places that will keep out google wallet/softcard and apple pay just to try and push CurrentC. Until that tanks I don’t see pay by phone becoming the norm.

  3. what? why do people hate it? I probably made $400 back from using softcard last year.

    1. Huh how? Explanation?

      1. There was a $50 sign up bonus when you used it with amex serve on Verizon (later they matched that deal for AT&T and Tmobile got $30).

        Then for the first 5 months it was 20% of all purchases for the first $1000. I went to the Verizon store, tapped and paid $1000 towards my account. Had $200 in my account 2 days later.

        Then they had a deal where you got $1 back for every purchase up to 50 times a month. I bought a bag of almonds at rite aid and a coffee at mcondalds ($1) almost every day. Free stuff.

        Then they had $25 back if you spent $50 at a Verizon store. Again, put money on my bill.

        Then they had a free juice at jamba juice. Got about 50 of those over a few months (value was $4.55 each).

        There was more…i can’t even remember at this point.

        Oh.. $10 back on $10 spent at Aeropostale. I went in, bought a $10 shirt for free.

        1. Well played.

        2. Probably explains their $15 million burn rate…they had to pay people to use it. Usually a sign of desperation.

          1. Yeah, i’ve tapped to pay with softcard 100’s of times.

            But NEVER when they weren’t paying me to do so.

  4. seems like every vending machine i go to doesn’t work with my phone due to it using softcard, maybe this would fix that and add support for things like google wallet.

  5. Isis…I remember them. They had to change it to.softcard.because of the bad reputation o f the name ISIS

    1. Thank god softcard/Isis is dying, payment systems only work is they are completely platform agnostic.

  6. Ugh…kill it.

  7. This is incredibly frustrating. AT&T & Verizon leveraged their investment in ISIS/Softcard as an excuse to block Google Wallet from being installed and fully functional on their customer’s phones for YEARS! By doing this, they stunted google wallet’s ability to penetrate the mobile payments market. Then… they go all out in support of Apple Pay, causing Softcard AND Google Wallet to be completely eclipsed in the media, and ONLY then do they consider abandoning Softcard!?!? This is equivalent to AT&T and Verizon spending 100’s of millions of dollars to delay Google Wallet so that apple could get their s@!t together and launch Apple Pay. Stagnating innovation to the advantage of corporate greed. Absolutely depressing. Hopefully Google can pick up the pieces and make a meaningful brand for Google Wallet.

    1. Insightful, well done, thank you!

      1. Appreciate the positive feedback. I have a friend who works at Google, and spent 2 years of his life on the Google wallet project when it was just getting started, over 5 years ago.
        This article, and what it sheds a light on really struck a nerve with me!

    2. Honestly dont see the problem. I use Google wallet wherever I see the ISIS logo( yep they didn’t change it) and it works every time. Using a Nexus 6 and my OnePlus one. NP. So as long as wallet works whoe cares which brand takes the money.

      1. The issue isn’t whether it works or not. We know it works, it always has. The issue is that most people don’t use mobile payments yet because it hasn’t caught on – and innovations don’t really count until they catch on and make a significant number of people’s lives easier. This process of getting new and beneficial technology out into the hands of everyday people and allowing them to get comfortable with it, was intentionally delayed and fought through the actions att, Verizon, and T-Mobile. The technology was mature and ready awhile ago. They delayed it so they could try to control who would make the money off of it. It’s pathetic.

  8. what am I missing? just yesterday I saw a movie theater kiosk labeled ISIS and I paid with Google Wallet and it worked.

    1. I’ve had ISIS/Softcard terminals reject both my phone and my Tap-to-Pay card.

      1. You were using Google Wallet?

        1. Tried my contactless card and Wallet both

  9. That mascot will haunt my dreams. Thanks Phandroid.

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