Samsung Could Beat Apple to Mobile Payments Punch with S4

March 18, 2013

First Samsung surpassed Apple in smartphone sales, now it appears Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 could beat iPhone to the punch in payments as well. At Samsung’s theatrical S4 unveiling in New York on Thursday, one of the new features introduced is the integration of technology provided by its partner Mobeam. The San Francisco-based company’s technology enables barcode readers to read a barcode generated on a smartphone screen. Most barcode scanners in stores have been unable to read codes off the reflective screens used on most smartphones. Instead of a static image that renders on the screen, Mobeam’s patented technology turns a barcode into pulses of light that POS scanners can read.

While the question of what technology merchants and consumers will use to complete transactions at the POS using a mobile device is far from settled, Samsung’s inclusion of the Mobeam technology enables the phone to make them using a technology that already exists at the POS. S4 users should be able to take advantage of the many loyalty and coupon apps that use barcodes and payment may not be far behind. The company introduced Samsung Wallet at the recent Mobile World Congress in Spain that, like Apple’s Passbook, lets users store coupons, tickets, membership cards and other items. Integration of Samsung Wallet with Mobeam could mean an easy way to redeem all these things at the POS. And, being able to use the technology with stored payment information is certainly possible as well.