Softcard's mobile payments app is shutting down in March after tech sale to Google

softcard tappy
Credit: Softcard

Softcard is closing up shop for good, leaving you with one fewer option for making payments with your phone. 

After earlier announcing it had sold some of its technology to Google, Softcard now says it will shut down the app for good on March 31. As part of the buyout, the three backers of Softcard—Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile—said they will load Google Wallet onto Android phones running KitKat or higher later this year. 

The major collateral damage hits Windows Phone, which has no tap-to-pay service and is quickly losing its banking apps, with Bank of America the latest to jump ship. Given the platform's paltry marketshare, it's unlikely Google will build a Wallet app for Windows.

Google's buyout is an indication of how intense the competition is becoming in the mobile payments space. Apple Pay quickly shot up in popularity, triggering Google to revamp its own strategy by announcing Android Pay at Mobile World Congress.

The biggest competitor now for Google is Samsung Pay, which will debut alongside the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, promising to work with any store register that lets you swipe a card.

The story behind the story: Softcard launched in 2013 as Isis, but later changed its name after the rise of the terrorist group with the same acronym. It never really took off, even with its backing by three of the four major U.S. mobile carriers. The major annoyance to Android users came when some phones and stores disabled Google Wallet as part of the effort to promote Softcard. Google's goal is for Android Pay to be more universal and not get held back by third-party wrangling.

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