Universal mobile payments

LoopPay could be the secret weapon inside Samsung’s Galaxy S6

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On March 1, Samsung will hold an event that will likely introduce us to its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S6. We’ve heard reports of the phone having a metal casing instead of plastic and a reduced touch of TouchWiz, Samsung’s twist on Google Android and a Samsung processor powering the phone. Perhaps all that’s missing is a way for Samsung to challenge Apple Pay. Or maybe that’s in there too with a combination of integrated fingerprint sensor and LoopPay.

LoopPay Card Case Transaction

That’s the news out of Korea where DDaily suggests a Samsung and LoopPay partnership is likely for the new phone. And it would validate reports from this past December that suggested the two companies were in talks.

LoopPay is already available as a third-party payment system and it uses magnetic waves to replicate the magnetic stripe of a traditional credit card. The company says that secure tokenization — an approach used with [company]Apple[/company] Pay that hides actual account numbers from merchants — is coming in 2015 and that its technology can be fitted into nearly any mobile device. It currently sells smartphone cases, for example, that can be used for mobile payments in more than 10 million locations worldwide.


The current challenge with LoopPay and other universal cards is that they rely on magnetic stripe transactions to make payments, and that technology is getting phased out in the U.S. starting this year in favor of more secure smart chip cards using the EMV standard. As that happens, LoopPay’s current technology will stop working for credit and debit card payments, though it could still story loyalty and gift cards as well as IDs that use a mag stripe.

While LoopPay can move with the standard, it would need to work closely with the banks to access the tokens and cryptograms they are using in place of static credit card numbers, and so far none of the banks seem willing to work with any of the universal credit card makers. But LoopPay has [company]Visa[/company] — an investor — in its corner, and if this Samsung deal does pan out, it could provide the necessary momentum to bring LoopPay and the banks together.

This LoopPay video explains the details in full of how the technology works today.

When I watched the video, the magnetic coils reminded me of something that phones use for a different purpose: Wireless charging. I’m wondering if Samsung and LoopPay have figured out a way to “tune” the frequency of those coils to be used for both mobile payments and wireless battery charging. Even if they haven’t, it’s possible to fit two pairs of coils inside of a device to accomplish the same thing.

PhoneArena, which noticed the Korean media report, notes that the Galaxy S6 is expected to have a fingerprint sensor as well, which could be tied to LoopPay for additional security. Theoretically, then, putting LoopPay and biometrics together would rival Apple Pay and give Samsung customers similar features, which in turn could help turn Samsung’s smartphone sales around.

6 Responses to “LoopPay could be the secret weapon inside Samsung’s Galaxy S6”

  1. LoopPay can easily utilize NFC for transmission of credit card stripe data, as well as, its own MST transmission technology. Key is the versatility of transmitting virtually any card, including gift cards, and credit cards from any bank or credit union. Apple Pay doesn’t allow for either.

  2. Arik Jones

    Here is the thing. I don’t want more excuses to keep dragging out the use of magstripe cards and readers. It seems like a step backward. Millions of people are buying iPhones with NFC. Millions of Android users have devices with NFC. Use NFC.

    Having used Apple Pay frequently, building payments into the phone itself is the most elegant solution in my opinion. If I ever wanted Samsung to copy Apple on something, it would be Apple Pay.

    • To be clear, Android had NFC payments long before ApplePay came along and forked NFC payments even worse than they already were. If anything, ApplePay is hurting more than helping the adoption of NFC payments.

    • Abdullah Tarawneh

      Missing the point. It’s meant to use the magstripe by design. NFC options exist (like Google Wallet and Apple Pay), but LoopPay is meant to bridge the gap until we get rid of magstripes.