Here comes yet another way to make payments without using your credit card when you make a purchase- at least in 90-percent of the cases according to a Kickstarter project called the Loop. I must admit that I have often thought of how nice it would be to pay with something that I WANT to carry around with me all of the time – my smartphone…I will not leave home without it. My smartphone has almost replaced my wallet. I remember when I would feel naked without my wallet in my back pocket – it was as if I had a sixth sense about it being there…now I am like that with my smartphone. The problem is merchants have already invested money in card readers and 'paywave' readers and now we are asking them to add yet another payment method – there is no one 'standard' for pay for a purchase.
The Loop may eventually eliminate the need for carrying an additional piece of equipment, but right now, the Loop does not eliminate the need to carry around the Loop Fob to use with your Android phone. The app may be free, but this $40 Loop Fob is a must have accessory – with a promise of a $100 phone case with the transmitter built-in to the case to eliminate the Fob.
The entire process is really quite simple and user-friendly, walking you through each step. First you purchase the Loop Fob for $40 and download the app for free – Take your Fob out of its key chain holder and plug it into your headphone jack – swipe each of your cards through the Fob's reader – enter some information and take a picture of the card – even enter gift or loyalty cards – and take a picture of your driver's license or picture ID card and store that as well. All of this information is transferred/loaded onto your smartphone, but to actually make a purchase you still need to plug the Fob into your phone and the transmission actually goes out from the Fob in about a 3-4 inch area. You also have the option of storing the payment information in the Fob for a certain length of time so you do not need your smartphone at the same time…such as 10 minutes to run in and make a purchase or 8 hours to allow a family member to take on a date.
What is nice is that the Loop system works with most existing systems that merchants already have in place – in fact most sales clerks will not even realize that you used your Fob rather than your credit card to make your payment. You cannot use this system on any equipment, such as a gas pump, that requires you to slide the card in and pull it out to make a purchase – you would have to go inside to pay for your purchase.
The Fob is useless without your phone – provided you did not program it to store the information and it gets stolen – and the phone itself, cannot make the purchase – that is until they provide the special phone case, but even then you must enter a password and pin number. Please let us know on our Google+ Page what you think of the new LoopWallet and Loop Fob – does it seem like something that you could find useful or is carrying around the Fob as bad as your wallet…as always, we would love to hear from you.