Oct 13, 2013 Dave King
While many companies have attempted to popularize mobile payment devices to varying degrees of success, Loop is the latest product that sees itself catapulting the mobile payment market to public consciousness. This innovative new system features a small device called the Loop Fob, which plugs into a smartphone's headset jack, as well as a complementary app (LoopWallet) that requires a username and password to access stored credit cards and gift cards. Users can upload as many cards as they please with the app, but must choose one as the default. The Fob can then be detached from one's smartphone and used at an astounding 90 percent of point-and-sale (POS) systems in the country, according to tech site Gigaom. For those wary of carrying and potentially losing the Fob, Loop also offers a larger,easily attachable, 6 millimeter-thick iPhone 5 ChargeCase. The company employs Magnetic Secure Transmission, which allows POS machines to read the magnetic stripe data stored from a credit card via the Loop transmitter.
Loop's defenses against ID theft
The creators of Loop are aware of potential threats to the safety of consumers' information entrusted to their products, and have implemented several measures to combat identity theft, assures Engadget, a website that reviewed Loop. On a basic level, the LoopWallet app requires a username and password. Consumers will additionally have to enter a four-digit pin to access their cards, plus, if using a smartphone with the ChargeCase, the phone must be 4 centimeters or less from the POS machine. Furthermore, the only time encrypted information is transmitted is during the initial few seconds of a given transaction. Of course, Loop technology isn't foolproof, and extensive marketing will have to be done to assure potential customers and retailers that it is safe and efficient, believes Dan Seitz of Gadget Review. The good thing is that Loop doesn't work on dip slots, such as the ones found at ATMs, so thieves likely won't be able to raid any bank accounts. Whether or not this innovative technology catches on remains to be seen.