The world's biggest smartphone maker is in talks with LoopPay, a mobile wallet and payments startup, about a tie-up that could turn Samsung smartphones into virtual credit cards accepted at a larger number of stores than any other existing service, ApplePay included.
On Tuesday, Apple issued a statement announcing that it had added another 10 banks to its existing list of 23 credit card-issuing financial institutions that now support its ApplePay smartphone-powered mobile payments service.
In real terms it means the nascent system already works with the credit cards used in 90% of all US credit purchases.
The same day news surfaced that Samsung is looking to move into the market with its own take on mobile payments. According to re/code, the company is already in advanced talks with startup LoopPay -- a company that enables a smartphone to wirelessly transmit the information stored on a credit card's magnetic strip and therefore be used as a substitute for a physical card -- and a prototype has already been built.
What makes the potential partnership interesting is that because LoopPay replicates the action of swiping a traditional credit card, it works with the overwhelming majority of existing point of sales terminals in the US -- unlike ApplePay and Google Wallet, which need the latest generation terminals that support NFC.
It might be early days for mobile payments but Apple's decision to move into the market has given it a huge boost. According to ABI Research's latest findings, published on Tuesday, thanks in no small part to Apple, the total value of transactions conducted by smartphones and tablets will top $1.8 trillion by the end of 2014 and upwards is the way that the figure is heading in the years to come.
Forrester Research believes that the ApplePay effect could see mobile-based payments in the US reach $142 billion by 2019. The company places the current number of transactions in the US made by smartphones and tablets at roughly $50 billion annually.
As re/code notes, for those companies attempting to compete in the premium smartphone market, this expected growth means that a mobile payments service could soon become as important to attracting consumers as a large HD or better display and a pro-level camera.