It appears as though Samsung is looking for advice on its speculated mobile payments system, Samsung Pay from one tech guru who is quite familiar in the payments space: PayPal Founder Peter Thiel.
As reported in multiple Korean media outlets, Thiel had a meeting with Lee Jae-yong, Samsung's vice chairman, Tuesday (Feb. 24) to discuss Samsung's soon-to-launch mobile payments system. The meeting reportedly occurred at a Samsung-owned hotel and was an hour long. Reports are indicating that “Samsung’s Lee may have asked for business advice from Thiel, who is an expert in fintech. Expectations are high that Samsung will soon launch a new competitor to Apple Pay."
It's been a busy month for Samsung, who announced Feb. 16 that it had acquired LoopPay, a mobile commerce platform that uses its Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) patented technology to turn existing mag stripe readers into mobile contactless receivers and enables LoopPay digital wallet users to use their LoopPay wallets at more than 90 percent of merchant establishments today. Now, Samsung and its potential to launch a mobile payments solution that works at virtually all existing merchant terminals without any upgrade and gives it a leg up on rival Apple and Apple Pay. Apple Pay’s NFC technology is available today at ~220,000 merchant locations and only to those who have iPhone 6’s and 6 Plus phones.
Samsung is also set to reveal the new Galaxy S6 phone at the Mobile World Congress on March 1 of this year. Reports say Samsung will simultaneously unveil Samsung Pay — its response to rival Apple Pay that will come preloaded on the new Galaxy S6 devices. And the fierce competition between Samsung and Apple will continue once Samsung Pay is launched. Samsung’s ignition of LoopPay is a function of how many phones it sells with the LoopPay technology embedded in it and how effective it is at getting consumers to adopt it and how quickly that happens. Apple Pay is leaning heavily on its network and issuer relationships to get consumers to register cards to their Apple Pay wallets.
And what about Google Wallet? As it was announced Monday (Feb. 23), Google bought Softcard's technology, which will effectively end Softcard's brand (sorry, Tappy). The deal puts an end to four years of wrangling between the mobile carriers and Google, during which Apple snuck in and created the mobile-payments dominating Apple Pay.
And now Samsung has got Peter Thiel in its back pocket for advice? It looks like the mobile payments game is only getting more competitive.