Neat tech, bad timing

Samsung reportedly mulling LoopPay deal for a wireless wallet

Samsung is in talks with mobile payments startup LoopPay about potentially incorporating the latter’s wireless credit card technology into its smartphones, according to a report from Re/Code. The two have already made a prototype of such a Samsung wallet that would challenge Apple Pay, Re/Code’s unnamed sources state, but a deal is still far from final.

LoopPay makes a fob and various smartphone cases that create an electromagnetic field which emulates the magnetic “swipe” of a standard credit card transaction. By storing various credit, debit or loyalty card numbers, LoopPay’s gadgets can work as a contactless payment system on nearly all point-of-sale terminals currently used in the U.S.

Still, partnering with LoopPay would be a puzzling move for Samsung, given the retail market is in the middle of a big transition.

Next year, U.S. retailers are joining a large part of the world in moving to a more secure transaction technology called EMV, which reads data from a chip rather than from a card’s magnetic stripe. LoopPay’s current technology won’t support those transactions. While mag-stripe purchases would still remain an option in many places, Samsung would be in the odd position of investing in a dying payments technology.