Loop: The Idea And Inspiration
By Ben Carsley, Managing Editor (@BC_PYMNTS)
George Wallner had nothing left to prove in payments.
After his run as the founder and CEO of Hypercom, which became one of the leading POS providers in the world, Wallner was enjoying his retirement. And as the man credited with inventing magnetic stripe transmission technology, Wallner had already left his mark on the payments industry.
So why is the payments pioneer – now the Co-Founder and CTO at mobile commerce platform Loop - seeking to reinvent payments once again?
According to Wallner, he’s creating a solution to close the loop between mobile phones and the traditional POS systems most merchants use today. Market Platform Dynamics CEO Karen Webster spoke with Wallner to discuss his newest work at Loop (formerly known as ActPay), as well as his thoughts on the modern payments ecosystem and more.
Wallner said that his interest in returning to payments began when he heard about NFC – a technology he terms as “great” and “underutilized,” but one he believes the industry is using “in a way that will make it very difficult to adopt.”
“That recognition, that there was a much easier, much simpler way to achieve the same thing, is what compelled me to kind of get back into work, and, as you said, get my hands very, very dirty,” he said.
As a result, Wallner has helped to build the patent pending Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology behind Loop, which lets mobile phones interact with the standard POS terminals used by 90 percent of merchants today. In Wallner’s eyes, such technology helps combat the shortcomings of storing card data on traditional magstripe cards – which he admits is obsolete – without requiring change on the part of merchants.
“The merchants are not the ones who are trying to introduce a new payment method,” Wallner said, “and therefore they should not be asked to change.”
To hear more Wallner on Loop’s technology and how it can accelerate mobile payments, listen to the full podcast below.
*If you have trouble with the audio player above, click here.
To see more on Loop's technology, view the video below.
And for more information about Loop’s security features, read some of Loop’s FAQs here.
Q. How secure is LoopWallet and The Loop?
The LoopWallet and The Loop are highly secure tools that are designed to ensure your information and the payments you make are as secure as possible. The information associated with your credit cards is encrypted and stored in a dedicated hardware secure module within the The Loop. Users must properly authenticate themselves before using the LoopWallet and The Loop to pay.
Q. How do I protect my credit card information?
Arguably your credit card information is more secure in the LoopWallet than it would be in your purse or wallet. Anyone finding or stealing your credit card(s) can use them at any unattended POS device and even some attended ones if the attendant isn’t vigilant about checking your ID. With the LoopWallet, your six-digit PIN has to be used each time you purchase something using one of your credit cards in your LoopWallet with the The Loop.
Q. How do I know my transaction has successfully completed?
As is typical with any card swipe POS transaction, your LoopWallet and The Loop transaction will register on the retailers POS system and a receipt will be printed for your signature, just like using your physical credit card. In the case of the The Loop, there will be an audible sound that indicates your card information has been transmitted to the POS mag stripe reader, but that doesn’t mean the transaction completed successfully, only that the information was transmitted to the POS mag stripe reader.
George is a payment industry pioneer and innovator. He has been in the payment industry for more than three decades, and was the founder and CEO of Hypercom. He launched the first modern mag stripe POS terminals and POS Network equipment that support the electronic payment industry today. Mr. Wallner took Hypercom from zero to IPO and become the #1 or #2 POS provider worldwide for many years before his retirement, and its later acquisition by VeriFone. Mr. Wallner was also an active board member and investor in Mr. Graylin’s two previous mobile payments companies ROAM and WAY. Most recently he co-founded and invested in Loop with Mr. Graylin, where he invented the Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology and has taken on his first operating role since Hypercom to help make Loop a leader in mobile commerce. George is heading up technology innovation at Loop including MST development in peripherals and phones. Mr. Wallner has numerous inventions in the field of POS, payment networks, and radio communications and is also a leading expert in radio antenna design.