Google is going all out to revive its Wallet service by throwing cash at wireless carriers and phone manufacturers, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The company is in talks with carriers, banks, and hardware makers on a variety of initiatives to get Wallet front and center on phones and in stores. The effort is spurned by the success of Apple Pay, which CEO Tim Cook recently said was the most popular mobile payment method.
The Journal says that Google wants to get the details finalized before its I/O developer conference begins May 28 so it can put together a splashy re-launch.
Google Wallet has had a difficult path, as some carriers and stores have blocked the app in favor of their own preferred alternative. Also, Apple has been able to get multiple banks and credit card companies on board, while Google has struggled to get a larger network of partners. Apple’s advantage here is its control over the iPhone ecosystem, while Google must negotiate with all the various partners in the Android ecosystem.
Along with the battle against Apple Pay, one of Google’s own hardware partners is now entering the competition. Samsung just bought LoopPay, which means little incentive for one of the largest Android handset makers to help out in promoting Google Wallet.
One plan to fix this, according to the report, is for Google to pay carriers and share advertising revenue to feature Wallet prominently on devices. Carriers may be more willing to listen this time around, as their former favorite solution Softcard (once Isis) hasn’t taken off.
The story behind the story: Google has a tough road ahead in wrangling an unruly group of carriers and hardware makers to cooperate. It needs to act quickly as the relative ease of Apple Pay and its wide network of partners could give those considering a switch to iOS one more reason to make the leap.