Samsung is set to buy up mobile wallet service LoopPay, giving it the perfect weapon for taking on Apple Pay. But will LoopPay be a true rival?
LoopPay is basically a mobile wallet service which lets users pay for stuff by tapping their smartphone against a credit card machine. It's compatible with both Android and Apple smartphones and is currently accepted in over ten million stores in the US, helped by the fact that it works with existing credit card POS machines - so retailers don’t have to invest in costly new infrastructure.
LoopPay's slick and pain-free method of introducing wireless mobile payments to retailers and consumers alike fits Samsung’s needs perfectly, and it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how this system might benefit the Korean company’s smartphone range.
Samsung has a huge smartphone user base and the ability to roll LoopPay technology out as standard with many of its more advanced models would be a great selling point. The fact that it keeps Samsung competitive with Apple helps enormously too.
When coupled with Samsung's new security measures including the Galaxy S5's fingerprint sensor, you have a secure and highly usable mobile payment system, which should be more than a match for Google’s Wallet system and Apple Pay.
Apple Pay is still a relatively new service and currently only works in around 5% of North American stores, while LoopPay works at almost nine out of ten retailers (according to LoopPay's own website). And since the tech is so easy for retailers to set up, it's likely to become quickly adopted here in the UK too, where we're still waiting for Apple Pay to emerge.
However, you do need a special case to use LoopPay on your phone, while Apple Pay works using the handset itself. With Samsung's move, we can only hope that LoopPay support is built into future Galaxy handsets, eliminating this need.
Samsung’s acquisition of the company has come as no surprise to many in the industry. The company invested in LoopPay originally and identified the technology as having the potential to improve its market share some time ago.
"Our goal has always been to build the smartest, most secure, user-friendly mobile wallet experience, and we are delighted to welcome LoopPay to take us closer to this goal," said JK Shin, Samsung’s President and CEO.
Despite Samsung's impending acquisition, LoopPay will remain an independent company, rather than being gobbled up by the South Korean multinational, a wise move in our eyes that should help Loop Pay potentially retain its cross-platform support. For the time being at least.