Loop, a mobile payment startup, wants to make using your smartphone at the cash register as natural as pulling out your credit card or cash. The company has introduced LoopWallet, an app and key fob combination which can turn an iPhone into a virtual wallet where a person can store credit, debit, loyalty and gift card information for use when making purchases. A version for Android users is slated to be released in April 2014.
The LoopWallet app is available free at the iTunes store, but a key fob priced at $39 on their website is needed to make it work. The current version is compatible with the iPhone 4, 4s, 5, 5c, and 5s. All credit and debit cards, as well as IDs and loyalty cards with magnetic strips can be loaded into the system by swiping them using the fob.
How it works
The fob contains magnetic induction loop technology that allows it to talk with card readers and transmit the individual’s payment information. At check-out, customers can use the app to choose their payment method or they can use the preset default method of payment. To complete the transaction the fob is held near the card reader and the system sends out a magnetic signal containing the user’s payment information.
According to Loop, it can be used in 90% of retail stores. With the app, users can also review account information in real time as well as access special deals offered by participating merchants and card issuers. The system is outfitted with Payment Card Industry (PCI) security. LoopWallet is locked and unlocked using a pin number.
More to come
A smartphone charge case is in development and is expected to be priced at $99. It will be able to load and store credit card information and transmit it directly into the card reader when it is held close to the device. It is expected to be released in April.
Other virtual wallet and mobile payment apps are in development, including Coin, which will be launching a virtual wallet this summer. The Coin device looks like a credit card and can be swiped at checkout, but it stores up to eight different cards.