Samsung Buys LoopPay, is Ready to Get Serious About Mobile Payments

I would be lying if I said that this surprises me, but Samsung just acquired LoopPay, a company specializing in mobile payments in a way that doesn’t require NFC or changes from retailers. The two companies were previously rumored to be working together to create a competitor to Apple Pay.

LoopPay has been on the rise as of late, thanks to its technology that is able to emulate a magnetic card swipe that happens each time you use a regular credit card at a payment terminal. The technology, at least in recent forms, starts through a case that is attached to a phone which can then be tapped to a payment terminal to finish off a transaction. The key feature of LoopPay is that it doesn’t require retailers to change out their existing hardware and works at around 90% of current pay terminals. In other words, LoopPay doesn’t need to wait for retailers around the world to swap out current hardware for NFC-equipped hardware in order to work, like Google and Apple do.  (more…)

Hilarious Turn of Events: Carrier-Backed Payment System That Tried to Block Google Wallet Might be Bought by Google

You remember Isis Mobile Wallet don’t you? That would be the mobile payment system that carriers – specifically, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile – created to be the only payment system you would need on your phone. That would also be the payment system that carriers used as reason to help block, but not admit-to-blocking, while still blocking because it was “different,” Google Wallet, for years while they took their sweet time getting Isis ready. And let’s not forget that the service has already been renamed to Softcard because of the growing entity known for terrorism that the original name matched. All caught up on Softcard and Isis?

According to a late Friday report out of TechCrunch, the payment system has been a massive failure to this point and is now in talks with Google to potentially be acquired.  (more…)

Samsung May Partner With LoopPay to Launch Apple Pay Competitor

If the store at which you are trying to buy that stick of gum has an NFC terminal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet work well enough. But if it lacks one, or is part of a competing consortium, you will have to whip out the antiquated plastic between the lint in your pocket. But that may change if Samsung has its way. According to multiple Recode sources, the Korean electronics giant is in talks with startup LoopPay, to develop a smartphone payments method of its own.  (more…)

Retailers in US Block Apple Pay, Which Also Blocks Google Wallet

Over the weekend, news broke that many retailers across the US were not supporting Apple Pay, shutting down their wireless payment terminals to anyone looking to use them. Unfortunately, and apparently unknown by many, this move by retailers does not just hurt Apple Pay users, but also effects Google Wallet users as well.

While the number of Google Wallet users may not compete with the amount of people who plan to jump on the Apple Pay train, Wallet users have not been met with many issues surrounding the service until Apple announced and released their own NFC-based payment system. Now with Apple Pay released, it appears that huge retail chains, such as 7-Eleven, Walmart, and Best Buy will soon launch their very own mobile payment app, meaning that they now have motivation to simply shut out all competitors from their stores.
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Video: Android 5.0 Feature – Setting Up Trusted Devices

Motorola has been doing this really cool thing for a couple of years now called Trusted Devices. The idea behind a trusted device is pretty simple (our tutorial on the Moto X) – when you have select Bluetooth devices paired to your phone, you can tell your phone to let you bypass a secure lock screen without having to enter a PIN, password, or pattern. It could be a watch that you wear with your phone all day, so that your phone remains mostly unlocked when with you. Or it could be your car, for example, which would allow you to skip by your lock screen security to make for easier (and safer) access while on the go. But, if you were to disconnect from those trusted devices (lose your phone at a bar), your phone would then revert back to being fully locked by that pattern, PIN, or password to protect your information. Make sense?

Google added Trusted Devices to Android 5.0 “Lollipop.” This is awesome news because it should mean that in the future, all Android phones running Android 5.0 or higher will have access to this super convenient feature.  (more…)

Plastc Tries to Convince You Why Credit Cards are Still a Good Idea

Apple and Google may be betting on NFC as the future of consolidated payment, but ubiquity  is far from guaranteed; many, many businesses need to upgrade their point-of-sale terminals, which could take years. That is why startups like Coin have looked to capitalize on the nascent wallet-slimming trend with stop gap solutions that have been, more often than not, more trouble than they were worth.

Plastc is the newest kid on the block, and its feature list almost reads like a blow-by-blow response to Coin’s many shortcomings. It contains an e-ink touchscreen which toggles automatically via a brightness sensor  and is capable of displaying your signature, photo ID,  and barcodes; it has a re-writable NFC/RFID chip for use with access systems; it supports chip and pin (EMV) terminals; and it has wireless charging mat. (more…)

Android L Features: Android Beam Now a Part of Share Menu

In Android L, Google has included Android Beam in the sharing menu, making it arguably easier to share items using NFC.

When you go to share an item now in the L version of Android, you will see an icon for Android Beam, along with your icons for Drive or Box or Dropbox or any other app capable of sharing. Once Android Beam has been tapped, your device will tell you to “Tap another device to complete,” which then sends the item as soon as the second device is touched.  (more…)

Monday Poll: Do You Use NFC on Your Smartphone?

When first announced for Android devices, NFC was a pretty exciting feature. It allowed for tap-to-pay services to launch in stores, it brought Android Beam into existence, and allowed other devices to quickly connect to Android phones and tablets via Bluetooth with no user input needed. Times were good.

Now, in mid-2014, we find ourselves using NFC less and less. Services like Google Wallet and Isis haven’t been taking off like expected, and we find that the convenience of NFC isn’t actually worth having the feature enabled on our phones. Sure, it has its time and place, but for the most part, NFC is still kind of useless to most users.

Our question to you is, are you using NFC these days? Back in February of last year, we asked this same question, with the results not showing much love for NFC. 53% of people who answered said they did not use NFC, 33% said yes, and 14% of poll responders didn’t even have a phone with NFC built in.

It’s time to update our results. Share your experiences with NFC in the comments below, and tell us if you think there is something that could make NFC better or more desirable.

Do you use NFC on your smartphone?

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