Softcard not dead, but is axing 60 jobs

Softcard not dead, but is axing 60 jobs

Softcard, the mobile payments venture owned by America's leading telcos, is slashing jobs in a cost-cutting exercise but insists that it is not shutting up shop.

Amid rumours that owners AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless had decided to stop funding the NFC payments outfit little more than a year after its launch, Finextra has been told that the project is not dead.

However, the company has confirmed that significant cost cutting is underway, involving the lay off of around 60 people. Softcard's employee base is in the hundreds.

Says a statement: "Softcard is taking steps to reduce costs and strengthen its business. This includes simplifying the company’s organizational structure and consolidating all operations into its Dallas and New York offices, which involves layoffs across the company.

"We believe these efficiencies will best position Softcard in the marketplace while maintaining focus on serving our market."

Softcard has had a difficult early life, even having to change its name from Isis to distance itself from the militant jihadist group fighting in Iraq and Syria.

However, it has seen its app downloaded some four million times thanks to a strategy of focussing on offers, rather than payments, striking deals with fast food chains like Subway and Jamba Juice.

Speaking at Money20/20 in November CEO Mike Abbott was bullish on his firm's prospects, arguing that it was well placed to benefit among Android owners from the increased public awareness of mobile payments generated by Apple Pay's launch.

However, it still faces stiff competition in the bricks and mortar market from the likes of Google, PayPal, the card firms, retail consortium MCX and a host of startups.

Comments: (2)

Bill Thomas
Bill Thomas - UNFCU - Long Island City 09 January, 2015, 20:45Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I used my Softcard at the supermarket the other day (Morton Williams), tapped my phone, got the confirmation on my screen but then the POS terminal requested my signature!   I'd never had that happen before but I have to admit the user experience is lousy.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 13 January, 2015, 14:07Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Unfortunately for Softcard, their very long roll out cycle and launching in a country with very little acceptance infrastructure has left them open to changing technology. It's looking increasingly like the TSM  model is old news and now that the banks have alternatives, Softcard is much less likely to attract them.

MCX may suffer the same fate unless they can continue to ensure a lack of competition in their merchants by refusing to support NFC/EMV and thus Apple Pay and HCE. It may take a while but they may ultumately suffer the same fate as merchants follow the technology that their customers are using.