Google Wallet has been out since 2011 but it apparently took the launch of Apple Pay for Samsung to get serious about making a mobile payments platform of its own.
According to Re/code’s sources, “Samsung has discussed a deal with a payments startup that would help the smartphone maker unveil a wireless mobile payments system in 2015 to rival Apple” that would “allow people with certain Samsung phones to pay in the vast majority of brick and mortar stores by waving their phones instead of swiping with a credit card or cash.”
Normally we’d shrug this off as yet another instance of Samsung trying to quickly follow Apple’s lead. However, there is an aspect to this service that actually makes it more potentially appealing to Android users than Google Wallet.
Re/code says that Samsung is using technology developed by a startup called LoopPay that lets users pay with their phones in many stores that don’t have special NFC readers set up. This means that Samsung’s mobile payments service could be accepted at more locations at its launch than Google Wallet is right now.
“To complete a purchase, LoopPay users tap any of these devices near the spot on a store’s credit card terminal where a card is usually swiped,” Re/code explains. “Since the technology mimics a card swipe, it works in far more locations than Apple Pay or Google Wallet, which require a store to upgrade to equipment that includes a technology called near field communication, or NFC.”
It remains to be seen just how convenient this service actually is for end users but it certainly sounds more promising than if Samsung had just decided to make a me-too NFC-based mobile payments service.