Just days after Samsung Electronics purchased LoopPay, Google has entered a partnership with Softcard. Both companies are trying to establish themselves in that particular market, prior to Apple Pay's full deployment.
LoopPay compatible with 90 % of current terminals
Samsung had already acquired a stake in the American company LoopPay, alongside credit card company Visa, but it has now moved to acquire it fully. Samsung said LoopPay is compatible with 90 % of the current payment terminals, as it is compatible with existing magnet card readers.
The sole prerequisite is that the user has an additional piece of hardware on his smartphone to send the signal to the terminal. With this acquisition, it is almost certain that Samsung will incorporate this hardware into its future lines of smartphones.
Google is (back) in the fight
Google is not standing idly by in this mobile payment services arena: the technology giant, which had already launched Google Wallet in 2011, has signed a collaboration with Softcard, an NFC-enabled payment system. NFC is supposed to be safer than magnetic strips, but it requires an upgrade of current payment terminals to support the technology.
Softcard, which used to be called Isis, is a Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile joint venture. Google will now acquire Softcard's technology, while the three telecom companies will put the Google Wallet app on every Android phone (starting from version 4.4 or 'KitKat') they sell through retail.
It remains to be seen if and when Google will talk to European providers to deploy the Google Wallet service here, but experts believe it won't take long for Google to make a move, simply because Apple Pay will reach European shores later this year.
Direct Apple Pay competitor
These moves open yet another front with big rival, Apple. Last year, the American company launched Apple Pay, which allows iPhone 6 users to pay contact-free.
Apple Pay uses also Near Field Communication and some 220,000 American stores already accept Apple Pay, which is a mere fraction of the 12 million retailers out there.