So what exactly did Google buy that they didn't have before?
For a couple years I kept reading about how Apple is way behind Android because it doesn't support NFC, as they claimed NFC payments was going to be a huge thing - even though almost no one who had NFC phones used it. Apple added NFC to the iPhone, made a big splash about Apple Pay and got some people using it - not a lot, but enough that they were a majority of people using NFC payments in the US within a week after the iPhone 6's release.
So Google buys a struggling company trying without success to push NFC payments, but doesn't get any of their customer data. Google already had a NFC payments infrastructure, so what did they need Softcard for? It looks like what really happened is that Google bought them to shut down them down, so Google Wallet is the only alternative for those who can't/won't use Apple Pay.
Well, until the hundreds of millions of credit/debit cards in the US are replaced with NFC versions that support EMV over the next 18 months or so. Then the question will be: Why use either Google Wallet or Apple Pay? How is it better than just using your card? Google just threw away money as far as I can tell.
As an Apple shareholder, theoretically using Apple Pay benefits me a microscopic amount, as I own about a millionth of the company and get a millionth of Apple's share of 0.15% of my transaction amount. Not quite as good as my cash back credit cards, which give me 10,000,000x more :) If I use Google Wallet I get to give them my purchase info to feed into their ad slinging machine which gets me...more ads? Yeah, not much incentive there!