Verizon in Talks With Google Despite Sputtering Wallet

  • JJ Hornblass
  • March 22, 2012
  • 1

We’re not surprised that Google is having a tough time fostering Google Wallet adoption. Google has a tough hill to climb.

What is surprising is that at least Verizon — and presumably AT&T — are still talking to Google about joining Wallet. Of course, both Verizon and AT&T have to date shunned Google Wallet for Isis, which is prepping to come to market with an NFC payments product.

Verizon reportedly told Bloomberg that “we are continuing our commercial discussions with Google on this issue.” And while AT&T declined to comment, it is not a stretch to expect it to likewise engage in discussions with Google.

The reported numbers out of Google Wallet are not good: just 50,000 to 100,000 downloads. Adoption isn’t likely to be higher than 10%, by our estimates.

Strikingly, Google is now talking about sharing Wallet economics with Verizon and AT&T to convince the two largest wireless companies to embrace the payments product. What that means is Google was not sharing the economics to date — no wonder Verizon and AT&T told Google to bug off. Sadly, I don’t see Google buying its way out of this one. The low adoption has put Google into a disadvantageous position. Any deal with Verizon and AT&T will likely make Google Wallet a borderline financial success at best.

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JJ started the first iteration of Bank Innovation back in 2007, and has been working on it ever since. He also serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal Media, Bank Innovation’s parent. He founded Royal in 1995 and oversees all aspects of the New York-based diversified media company. Prior to forming Royal, JJ was on the editorial staff of American Banker, the daily newspaper, and worked as an editor of a business magazine in Hong Kong. As a reporter and editor, he has won journalism awards from the National Press Foundation, Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Foundation, and the Reader’s Digest Foundation. He has a BS in Economics from Yeshiva University and a Master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was also a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Banking. He lives in New York City with his wife, two daughters, and son. He counts among his accomplishments one New York City Marathon, two New York City Triathlons and the 2010 Father’s Day 5K, the first race he ever ran with his daughters. He can be reached at or 212-564-8972.

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One thought on “Verizon in Talks With Google Despite Sputtering Wallet

  1. Citi is not alone in this. There are many, many, many banks using this as a way to attract core deposits. Unfortunately, the FDIC is creating a potentially nasty funding crunch at the end of 2009, when the insurance is set to go back to the original limits. Year-end funding is bad enough as it is, factor in the possiblity of millions of dollars walking out the doors of banks and it becomes a nightmare. But who honestly believes that the increase will not become permanent?

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