Google announced that it has bought Softcard, a mobile payments system developed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. (It was formerly called Isis, but changed its name last year to avoid any association with the Islamic State.) The purchase is big for Google, which has had its mobile payments system for years but has had trouble gaining ground against competitors such as, well, Softcard and the recently launched Apple Pay.

Softcard said in a statement that its current users will still be able to use its app -- for now. "We will share more information with customers and partners in the coming weeks," the company said in a statement.

The move takes one competitor out of the mix when it comes to mobile payments, giving both Google Wallet and Apple Pay some breathing room. Sadly, it doesn't necessarily make things any easier for the average consumer weighing their mobile payment options. Here's a quick look at how Apple Pay could stack up against a Google Wallet/Softcard hybrid.

What works with my phone? Apple Pay works on select Apple devices, namely the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Google Wallet works on both Android and iOS devices as long as they have the right chip and software (Android 4.4 KitKat or later) -- which actually narrows the field quite a bit.

With the addition of Softcard, it should work on select Windows Phone devices as well.

What works with my cards and my bank? Google Wallet and Apple Pay both work with all the major credit cards.

Google Wallet should also work anywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted. Apple has struck deals with several major banks -- including Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, PNC and others -- to gain widespread support of its own.

Let's talk security and privacy. Apple Pay's main advantage is that it works with Apple's fingerprint reader; that's built in to all Apple phones that support Apple Pay.

Google Wallet can also be configured to work with fingerprint readers, but because it works with more kinds of phones, that's not always an option. Instead, Google Wallet relies on a four-digit wallet pin to authorize purchases.

Both services use technology that keeps retailers from seeing your actual credit card number, even if hackers try to steal it from the register where you're paying. Google encrypts your credit and debit card information and stores it on its secure servers. Both Apple Pay and Softcard store the information on a chip within a smartphone itself.

On the privacy front, there's also one key difference: Apple itself doesn't track your purchases. Google does -- a trade-off that gives you access to customized deals but could spook the privacy-conscious.

Where can I use it? Both Google Wallet and Apple Pay rely on the same technology to process payments, a near-field-communication or NFC chip that lets users wave their phones over a special reader instead of swiping a card at the register. Google has the advantage when it comes to online payments, however, since its Wallet service is accepted at many Web sites and can also be used to send money to friends, or request repayment.

But there is an ongoing war over the control of mobile payments, and Google and Apple aren't the only players by a long shot. Notably, Wal-Mart said it wouldn't support Apple Pay or Google Wallet because it backs another competitor called CurrentC. As my Post colleague Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reported in September, other CurrentC backers include Target, 7-Eleven, Southwest Airlines, the Gap and Shell gas stations -- though some retailers such as Target support other systems.

The competition has arguably stymied the growth of mobile payments, since no one wants to invest too heavily in a system that may not work. And it's hard to gain any traction without buy-in from everyone: consumers, retailers, banks and credit card vendors.

As Douglas-Gabriel reported, fewer than 10 percent of American retailers even had the technology to process these payments. So no matter how you shop, chances are you can't completely ditch your wallet quite yet.