Softcard to shut down at the end of the month; Apple, Samsung and Google to battle for supremacy

After the word last week that Google was buying technology and patents from Softcard, it is no surprise that the latter announced on Thursday that it is officially shutting down at the end of the month. Apple has become a huge player in the game with Apple Pay, which has single-handedly raised the public awareness of mobile payment services.

Samsung has fought back with its purchase of LoopPay and the introduction of Samsung Pay. The former uses older magnetic stripe technology that allows Sammy to instantly offer its service at 10 million retail locations as opposed to the 230,000 that connect to Apple Pay. But thanks to a combination of NFC and a proprietary technology called Magnetic Secure Transmission, Samsung Pay has almost universal acceptance at 30 million terminals because its service works on both NFC and traditional magnetic stripe terminals. Samsung Pay will debut this summer in the U.S. and Korea.

While focusing on the challenge offered by Samsung, Apple shouldn't take its eyes off Google. Softcard's website confirms that the service will end on March 31st and recommends that users switch to Google Wallet. Softcard was jointly developed by Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T and as part of the deal with Google, all new Android phones sold by the three mobile operators will include Google Wallet out of the box.

Right now, Apple Pay and Google Wallet are limited to the number of retailers willing to build out NFC connected terminals. But a new law requires stores to upgrade their terminals to accept cards that use a chip and require a PIN, or else they will be financially responsible for fraudulent credit card transactions. This could push a large number of retailers to build out NFC systems in their stores very soon.

At the end of the day, the question isn't whether there will be enough consumer demand to make mobile payment services worth fighting over. The success of Apple Pay shows that there will be some people who will tap and pay. The question is whether or not mobile payment services can help sell smartphones.

source: Softcard via Forbes



1. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

Samsung Pay FTW! Universal Acceptance is Critical.

2. WackJobs

Posts: 30; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Hope they all just become universal.

3. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Get the popcorn...

4. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

I'm curious if Apple will challenge Samsung's magnetic secure transmission or if they'll just push harder for widespread NFC adoption

5. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

I hope they will push for NFC adoption. Samsung's magnetic transmission only works on older POS systems that don't support the EMV standard (which in my country is about 0.01% of the POS systems). So it's quite useless in my country.

7. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

I think you might have misunderstood something, even EMV terminals have magnetic acceptance, it is a requirement actually, a backup if you will. Though most of the time, it can be hard to see, since the slit for the card is very discreet. EMV as it is right now is a bit too fragile, I need to replace my card like between 1-2 years of very light usage, because the chip can't be read. Granted it can also be worn terminals, So everyone will be able to accept samsung pay, the whole "available in america/korea" thing is probably just an initial software limitation.

8. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

They do, but they are not allowed to be used in my country, since all banks have cards with a chip on it. In 99% of those cases, the magnetic acceptance is shut off. And true, that chip is quite vulnerable to wear and tear.

10. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

In the uk and most of Europe samsung will be using nfc payments only but there is loads of shops in the uk that take nfc, it's the usa where samsung needs to kill Apple and they got them doa fro the start, very cool

14. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

I think it is only an initial software limitation, once they are sure there are no major problems, the magnetic option will be opened up. According to the stats there should be no reason not to.

15. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Really? So how do you swipe your credit card? Because that is how swiping works. Seems you are looking at a name, not the way it works. The Loop Pay works exactly like a credit card. So that means whatever system you use still needs to read the strip of the card which mean this new way will work the same.

17. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

We don't swipe credit cards. Either you have a credit card that has a chip on it or you hand over the card to the retailer for verification and set your signature. I do know how it works, don't make assumptions about that.

6. checkmymike

Posts: 220; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

Top 3 tech companies in a race for mobile payment! And again, microsoft is nowhere to be found!

9. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

well google and samsung didnt exactly make the tech. So you can so MS is no where to be found, but in reality it was google who is shutting down the softcard app on MS devices. Sounds kinda no evil.

11. ph00ny

Posts: 2052; Member since: May 26, 2011

I don't think google had much choice when three major US carriers involved with softcard was going against google in their implementation of wallet

13. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

This is true, however google imo just wanted control over it, softcard already worked on their devices and then some like wp. Now? i dont know the purchase just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I personally love/like samsungs option/purchase

16. Damo579

Posts: 265; Member since: May 18, 2013

The Softcard app is being removed from Android phones as well. Now not having Google Wallet available for WP is a different story. WP showed NFC payments when WP8 was introduced in 2012 but they never followed through, that totally bit them in the ass.....

12. jesusnexo unregistered

so what other nfc method does windows phone have?

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