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.


Digital payments are rounding into form

Online and, especially, in-store payments are likely to advance in 2014. Banks, retailers and other payment processors are all making strides to simplify their processes and to come front and center in consumers’ minds. Not only ease-of-use, but discounts, record-keeping, and other perks are being employed to lure customers to new payment services.

American Banker has an article that looks at new solutions in PayPal’s Innovation Center and explores the ways that eBay otherwise plans to create more of an in-store shopping experience. As technology blurs the line between online and instore shopping, online providers are establishing in-store beachheads much as in-store retailers had previously expanded online. Similarly, not only are retailers dabbling with digital payments, but banks such as Capital One and U.S. Bank are also embracing discount and merchandizing tie-ins to promote their payment products.

We are still in the early days of the new payment sweepstakes and the ultimate standards and winners are not year clear. But various types of marketing hooks are starting to emerge and evolutionary growth in the sector is quickening.