Samsung’s Foray into Mobile Payments Could Alienate Google

Mobile CommerceSamsung’s venture into the world of mobile payments could cause tension with its longtime strategic partner Google, according to a Wall Street Journal article by Alistair Barr and Jonathan Cheng. There’s a lot of speculation about Samsung building its own mobile payments service this week as the company has just acquired LoopPay, which has developed a unique system for setting up mobile payments on existing POS terminals.

The problem where Google is concerned is in the two companies’ partnership with respect to Android, the Google-developed operating system that has traditionally been used on Samsung’s mobile devices. Google has had its own mobile payment platform – Google Wallet – out for years, and is currently trying to revitalize the somewhat overlooked platform and make it a real competitor against the now-dominant Apply Pay service. So there’s a real possibility that Samsung’s forthcoming mobile payment platform could end up competing against that of Google. Another problem is that a scenario in which multiple mobile payment platforms appear on one device could just muddy the waters and prevent any one of them from really taking off; the Apple Pay system, on the other hand, has benefitted from the uniformity of the Apple device ecosystem. 

There may be a solution in Google’s Host Card Emulation technology, which lets individuals apps store and transmit payment credentials, though the security of such a broad and diverse system could come under scrutiny. For its part, Samsung is saying it isn’t too worried about all of this. David Eun, who heads the company’s Global Innovation Center, insists that Google remains “a super-important strategic partner.” That’s the case for now, anyway.