Google is trying to pull together a disparate alliance of handset vendors, operators, banks and credit card firms as it works on a new version of its struggling wallet app, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The search giant is aiming to unveil the revamped service at its developer conference in late May, according to sources. Google Wallet is only available in the US.
In some cases, it is offering more revenue to partners as an encouragement to support the revived service.
Google is desperate to match rival Apple Pay but exerts less control over the smartphone OS and hardware than its rival. In addition, some key partners in the Android ecosystem, including Samsung, have their own ambitions in payments.
The Korean vendor announced the acquisition of vendor LoopPay last week and will launch its own payment service at next week’s Mobile World Congress, it is thought.
But Samsung has its own mixed history with payments. In 2013, it unveiled an alliance with Visa to enable mobile payments via NFC-based smartphones. The partners put Visa payWave applets on Samsung devices, in what the partners hailed as a “first of its kind” alliance between handset vendor and financial institution. However, the partners did not appear to make much headway.
Google is concerned that Apple Pay could become a draw for consumers to buy iOS rather than Android devices, so is desperate to breathe some new life into Google Wallet.
Both Apple’s service, launched in October last year, and Google’s older wallet are NFC-based services that enable users to pay for goods at the point-of-service. Google’s service is three-and-a-half years old.
The search giant is thought to be in exclusive talks with Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile US about acquiring the rival Softcard service, another struggler.
The operators formerly saw Google Wallet as a rival but have become more willing to work with the search giant, according to sources. They receive no revenue from Apple Pay.
In talks, Google offered to pay the operators to feature its wallet app prominently on Android devices, plus suggested the possibility of them getting a greater share of Google-based advertising searches.