As Samsung's share of the smartphone market continues to shrink, the Galaxy maker is in discussions with a mobile payments company that could result in a new Apple Pay rival and new stream of revenue.
Apple Pay has gotten off to a strong start, despite some transmission issues with the system's near-field communication chips and the abandonment of the platform by some merchants. But the few months Apple Pay has been on the market have been so promising that Samsung is now attempting to acquire a startup that could give new Galaxy devices a reach much further than their iOS rivals.
It hasn't been finalized yet and talks may still break down, but Samsung is working out details to purchase LoopPay, according to a report from Re/Code. The method with which LoopPay's system interacts with point-of-sales systems could help Samsung deliver serious competition to Apple's mobile payments platform, which was launched back in mid-September.
Instead of exchanging transaction details between smartphones and NFC terminals at registers, LoopPay's system enables mobile devices to mimic the swipe of a debit or credit card. Because merchants won't have to install NFC readers to support the platform, Samsung's mobile payments contender could roll out in short order and enjoy wider compatibility in stores than Apple Pay or Google Wallet.
LoopPay's CEO Will Graylin wasn't willing to even confirm that his company has been in talks with Samsung, though the startup's chief previously stated that the company was working on a deal to embed its technology into a major smartphone at some point in 2015.
Though LoopPay may not be ready to reveal the mobile device manufacturer it'd like to work with, Samsung's use of fingerprint sensors could make the Korean tech company's hardware more attractive than many of its rivals. Apple uses its TouchID fingerprint scanner to secure Apple Pay and Samsung could use its own biometric hardware to protect the data of those who use of LoopPay's platform -- Samsung may need to step up the efficacy of its fingerprint sensors, however.
A success in the mobile payments market could be just what Samsung needs to bolster its sliding smartphone sales, which have been losing ground to value-packed devices that fall into the mid-tier price range. Gartner research recently reported that, while still the world's largest smartphone manufacturer, Samsung's share of the market fell to 24.4 percent in the third quarter of 2014, down from a 32.1 percent market share a year ago.