Samsung is in talks with a Massachusetts-based startup, LoopPay, with the hope of launching a mobile payment platform in 2015, sources say. Whether or not Samsung has reached a deal is uncertain, and indeed one source says that talks could still break down. A second source claims that a prototype version of the platform is already working on a Samsung phone.
LoopPay's technology revolves around a concept called "magnetic secure transmission," in which the same data stored on the magnetic stripe of a debit or credit card is transmitted to a payment terminal without actually swiping the card. The company has produced a few products for the public, such as a fob, and a special payment card that can be used separately or while stored in a proprietary phone case. A payment is made by tapping one of the devices near the place a card is usually swiped.
The system could give Samsung an edge over Apple Pay or Google Wallet, both of which require stores to have NFC-capable terminals. Although many US retail chains will have to upgrade their terminals anyway in the next year to meet security standards, a LoopBay-based system could be adopted almost immediately, and could work with models that Apple Pay, for example, doesn't support.
Earlier this month LoopPay's CEO, Will Graylin, claimed that his firm's technology would be embedded into a mainstream phone in 2015. He continues to decline to mention a specific phone maker. When originally asked, he also noted that people would be able to use either NFC or magnetic secure transmission.
Graylin has also previously mentioned that is company is in talks with financial firms like Visa, an investor in LoopPay, about finding a more secure data transmission method. The company is in fact aiming for a tokenized system, akin to Apple Pay, which would ensure that card information is never actually seen or stored by a merchant.
If authentic, Samsung's efforts appear to be squarely intended at taking on Apple Pay, which has achieved rapid growth and some popularity, despite being around for less than two months. The company would presumably want to launch a payment platform alongside a flagship phone, such as a Galaxy S6 or a Note 5.