Samsung enters m-payments arena with e-wallet start-up acquisition

South Korean titan snaps up US-based LoopPay to compete with Apple in digital wallet segment

Tags: Mergers and acquisitionsSamsung Electronics CompanySouth KoreaUSA
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Samsung enters m-payments arena with e-wallet start-up acquisition (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  February 19, 2015

Samsung Electronics has acquired US-based e-wallet start-up LoopPay for an undisclosed sum, in an effort to compete with Apple Pay, Reuters reported.

Apple, Google, and eBay's PayPal have all developed services to allow in-store payments via smartphones, but despite backing from partners and banks, consumers and retailers have yet to respond to the offerings.

In order to accept m-payments, retailers need to integrate hardware and software into their operations. Samsung spokespeople yesterday argued that current systems did not offer consumers any more convenience than credit cards. With LoopPay, consumers can make purchases via the same magnetic strip reader used, according to Reuters, by 90% of checkout counters.

"If you can't solve the problem of merchant acceptance..., of being able to use the vast majority of your cards, then it can't really be your wallet," said David Eun, head, Global Innovation Centre, Samsung.

Injong Rhee, head of Samsung's soon-to be-launched payments project, said handsets such as the forthcoming Galaxy S6 would support the LoopPay system.

Rhee also spoke of supplementary services that would allow the smartphone to act as more than a payment system, allowing users, for example, to track their spending habits.

"It's about changing user behaviour, it's not about who's first in the market," he said.

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