By Segun Oniyide
Mobile payments are supposed to be the future. You pay for stuff swiping or tapping your phone, or in Loop’s case with a fob that works in tandem with the Loop Wallet app on your iPhone. You can store all your credit cards, and other forms of ID on your handset with Loop. You can also store your credit card issuer’s phone number, security codes, pictures of the front and back of the cards, and even a digital replica of your signature.Proponents of mobile payments generally insist that tapping to pay is faster, more convenient, and arguably more secure than old-fashioned methods. And those proponents include tech companies, credit card issuers, banks and other financial institutions, even if they hardly agree on the best approaches.
But it has come up with breakthrough technology that addresses one of the key hurdles stifling the growth of mobile payments, But Loop is compatible, the company claims, with 90% of the magnetic stripe credit readers that are already out there, including many that have been around for years.
The first step before you can shop with Loop Fob is to store all the credit cards you plan to use in the Loop Wallet app. You do this by connecting the fob to the audio jack on your iPhone and swipe in the cards. The idea is you can then leave those physical cards at home.
Then when you’re in the store and ready to make a purchase, you plug the fob back into the phone and open the app. You must enter your four-digit passcode to do so. You tap the screen to choose the card you want to use for the transaction, and place the fob on or very close to the credit card reader..
Fortunately, there’s a considerably easier way that doesn’t require the phone to transact. Loop lets you store a single designated credit card on the fob itself. Then you only need to place the fob against the card reader in the store and press the button on the fob to complete the transaction. Loop calls this feature “button payYou do have to connect the fob to the phone if you decide to change the default card that you’ve selected.
Coming in April is a potentially more convenient $99 case that incorporates Bluetooth, charges your phone, and of course lets you pay without the fob. An Android app is also due in April.