Samsung is moving into the growing and potentially highly profitable area of mobile payments in a quite a big and fast way, acquiring mobile payments company LoopPay.
Using LoopPay currently require users to either purchase a smartphone case (at a starting cost of US$16) or a keychain module(US$10) to use the system, but then allows users to simply hold up their smartphone case to a card reader to initiate and complete transactions. It’s this technology which gives LoopPay an advantage of working in 90 percent of existing payment terminals (that’s their word, not ours).
The acquisition of LoopPay comes hot off the heels of an announcement back in December, which showed Samsung was eager to license LoopPay’s technology for use with their Galaxy devices. But it seems that they have instead decided to simply purchase the company and merge together instead of form a third-party partnership between the two companies.
Speaking about the acquisition, JK Shin President and Head of IT and Mobile Division at Samsung Electronics said
This acquisition accelerates our vision to drive and lead innovation in the world of mobile commerce. 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.
With the acquisition, it’s possible that we could see an integration of the technology, sans case or keychain into the Galaxy S6 next month. Rumours are currently floating that Samsung could possibly license LoopPay’s technology out to other Android manufacturers, but at this stage, most Android users would prefer to see wider spread adoption of the HCE NFC based payments system introduced by Google in Android 4.4.
This will of course draw comparisons to Apple’s growing ‘Apple Pay’ contactless payment system which is gaining traction in the mainstream. Samsung has previously partnered in a limited capacity with the Commonwealth and Westpac banks for contactless payments here in Australia, but those trials are fairly limited, although beneficial to Samsung Galaxy owners.
We’ll know more about what Samsung intends to use LoopPay for in the coming weeks and months.