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Layoffs Hit Softcard, the Mobile Wallet Venture Backed by the Big Wireless Companies

Sixty employees were affected.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Softcard, a payment technology consortium backed by Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile, has laid off 60 employees in a restructuring, the company said. The layoffs affected between 12 percent and 30 percent of its employees, according to the staff size range the company discloses on LinkedIn.

“Softcard is taking steps to reduce costs and strengthen its business,” the company said in a statement. “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.”

Softcard, previously known as Isis, makes an app that lets shoppers pay in stores using their phones instead of a credit card or cash. It transmits payments using the same near field communication technology, or NFC, that Apple Pay does.

Apple’s entrance into the market means that Softcard is locked out of Apple phones. But at a payments conference in November, CEO Mike Abbott tried to frame this as a positive for his company and mobile payments on the whole.

“We faced an industry that’s been fragmented, confused and riddled with inaction,” he said. “We can all now bet on NFC.”

On Android phones, Softcard faces competition from Google Wallet, PayPal and an upcoming app backed by Walmart, Target and other big retailers.

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