Samsung is edging closer to debuting its own take on wireless payments, according to a report from Recode. Following the launch of Apple Pay earlier this year, Samsung has reportedly been trying to license technology from startup LoopPay to create a competing service. Although the site’s anonymous sources agree that LoopPay and Samsung have been in talks, one says the deal “could still fall apart,” even though another says a prototype payments system has already been created.
How would Samsung’s purported Apple Pay competitor work? A lot like existing systems. Discussing a deal with an unnamed phone maker earlier this month, LoopPay CEO Will Grayling said payment information would be transmitted via NFC — just like Google Wallet and Apple Pay — without the need to open a specific app on the smartphone.
Samsung already has a deal in place with PayPal to authorize payments with your fingerprint in the Galaxy S5 and Note 4, and there’s no word on how a LoopPay partnership would affect that. One thing Apple has over Samsung is a wealth of credit card information from its users’ iTunes accounts. Samsung could potentially try to use PayPal’s similar data to the same effect, or simply ask users to add cards manually.
Perhaps more interestingly, LoopPay is best-known for “Magnetic Secure Transmission” technology that mimics a card swipe, allowing users to pay with their phone even at terminals that don’t support NFC. According to the company, that makes LoopPay compatible with over 90 percent of retail outlets in the US. It’s not clear from Recode‘s report if Samsung would try to bake this tech into its future products — LoopPay sells cases and fobs for iPhone already, and could simply extend compatibility to Samsung phones — but one thing is almost certain: Samsung will have an answer to Apple Pay soon. The company has not been shy about borrowing, rebranding, and repurposing ideas from other companies to improve its own products, and there’s no reason to suggest wireless payments will be any different.