Samsung buys mobile payments startup LoopPay; expected to use it to rival Apple Pay


The Galaxy S6 launch is around the corner and like every other Samsung flagship device before it, it is supposed to not only bring the latest and greatest in mobile technology to the average consumer but also have some headlining tech. The technology that the vendor at your local smartphone store will use to talk you into getting the S6. The tech that will be the subject of all the ads that will come later. That tech may be mobile payments powered by former Kickstarter-backed LoopPay. Samsung has acquired the startup for an undisclosed sum.

Last September, Apple introduced Apple Pay and partnered with a number of merchants and stores to roll out the feature. Ever since, Apple Pay has been one of the headline features of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and is even integrated in the upcoming Apple Watch. This surely wouldn’t have gone without Apple’s competitors like Samsung wanting a piece of the cake. It is this that fueled speculation as early as last December that Samsung was already in talks with LoopPay to have its mobile payments technology headline the upcoming Galaxy S6. They was never an outright confirmation or denial of the rumours. Until today.

LoopPay goes a step further than Apple Pay or Google Wallet: it’s not entirely reliant on NFC. It acknowledges the fact that legacy systems far outnumber new tech like NFC and that lots of merchants still use old POS terminals that need you to carry your magnetic stripe card every time you shop. What does it do? It mimics a magnetic card by using its “magnetic secure transmission” technology to create a small magnetic field between the smartphone and the payments terminal to mimic a card swipe. So far this technology is not integrated to work with any smartphone and entirely relies on smartphone cases for devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Note 4 to make it usable. So you enter your magnetic card’s details on the LoopPay app then head out to your store of choice. With the right case, you simply tap your smartphone to the card swiping terminal so that the magnetic stripe reader can do its work and voila!

The acquisition by Samsung now changes everything. We’re likely to see it show up fully integrated in Samsung smartphones and the Galaxy S6 may just be the first. We’ll hold our thoughts on that though. Considering the reach of Samsung’s flagship devices over the last three years, we won’t be lying if we said this will be Apple Pay’s main competitor. Moreso if Samsung is able to get as many merchants as possible and avail it in as many regions as possible.


Photo: AndroidAuthority