There are seemingly dozens of companies trying to get in on the mobile payment space. Google Wallet was among the first to hit mainstream, though the company hasn’t done particularly well establishing partnerships with mobile carriers to get it off the ground. ISIS is an option supported by T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, though there’s a limited support of vendors and consumers need to swap out SIM cards for special ISIS-ready options. Now a new service from a company called Loop is live, and it hopes to provide the best option yet.
Loop is now offering an application called LoopWallet for iOS 7 devices. It works with one of two accessories, the Loop Fob for your keychain, shipping now in a variety of colors for $39, or a Loop ChargeCase that will ship in April and costs $99. Once you’ve installed the LoopWallet application, you can use the Loop Fob (or soon, the ChargeCase) to swipe in the credit or debit card you wish to use. In a recent review, The Verge revealed one major problem: the Loop application can only store one card at a time. So, if you rely on several cards, that’s certainly going to be an issue.
Once you have your credit card loaded, however, you’ll be able to use the LoopWallet application and the LoopFob for making payments. The company says that it’s accepted at 90 percent of all point-of-sale (POS) terminals that typically accept a magnetic stripe card. Instead of swiping anything, however, you just have to tape a button on the side of the LoopFob to activate a “magnetic signal,” according to The Verge, that then transmits your data to the POS machine.
Of course, that creates a major barrier: a lot of retailers don’t know about the technology and have apparently been reluctant to see it in use. As we feared with Coin, a similar option that can store all of your credit cards inside one single card, retailers who aren’t familiar with the technology may think something suspicious is afoot. The Verge said that store managers were called in each time the reviewer tried to use either a LoopFob or a ChargeCase. The good news? The technology works.
If you’re willing to take the risk of leaving your wallet at home, only to be turned down later while using a Loop Fob, then consider pre-ordering the device. Personally, I think I’m going to wait until the company establishes more partnerships and informs retailers what its technology is doing.