Samsung is aiming to widen access to contactless payments

While Samsungs most high profile contactless payment push is the eponymous Samsung Pay aka its mobile payments product, which competes with the likes of Apple Pay and Android Pay the company is today bigging up another approachits backing, with the not so catchy name of Contactless Companion Platform (CCP).

The initiative, which is a partnership with Swiss fintech company Smartlink and POS &payment techprovider Ingenico, is aimed at expanding access to contactless payments beyond owners of NFC-enabled smartphones, and even to people who dont have bank accounts via a tiny NFC chip that can be embedded into a range of devices and form factors.

Potential payment devices could include anything from a payment card to a rubber wristband, a keyfob or a piece of jewelry. Swiss watchmakers Winwatch and Montfort, for example, bothrecently showedtraditionalwristwatches with the CCP chip embedded, and will be implementing the chips into their watches adding a payment capability you can find on a smartwatchlike the Apple Watch to a range of non-smartwatches.

Samsungs NFC director Jrg Suchyeven suggests the chip could be embedded into clothing in future so you could pay with your sleeve, for example.Samsung is looking for other wearable manufacturers to get on board and payment-enable their devices to make them more attractive to customers, he said.

The beauty of the CCP is that wearable manufacturers donthave to significantly change the design of their devices to incorporate the technology its a case of inserting the tiny chip to enable the device for payment,Suchy added.

Chippeddevices are managed viaa smartphone app, where they can be linked to a bank account and credit cards. But they couldalso potentially betopped up via other methods, including withcash, as part of the mission to widen access to contactlesstech. Theidea with cash would be the ownerof a CCP device takes it into a shop and hands over cash to load onto it (in the same way that Londons contactless Oyster travelcard can function, for example).

And while Oyster cards have been superseded for many Londonersby the transport network adding support for paying with contactless bank cards (which are very common in the UK), an embeddable contactless tech that would enableusers to tap to pay without needing to also have a bank account potentially opens upcontactless payments togroups that might be excluded, such as children, refugees and the homeless.

It becomes much easier for countries to progress towards a cashless society, and governments can get rid of the hassle of coins, reduce the cost of printing money, reduce the threat of counterfeit notes, etc, saidSuchy.

Safety features designed into the platform include the ability to deactivate the payment chips via the app; andtime stamps so a usercould, for example, load a small amount of moneyonto a wristband for an hour while theygo running, and then after the time has elapsedany of the moneynotused is automatically returnedto theirCCP account.

Samsungsaid today it will betrialling the CCP in Eastern Europe thisApril, with15,000 users with a view to further expanding in the region thereafter.

Of course, with any payment tech, the platform will need to get device makers on board embedding the chips and establish a payment support ecosystem to enable capabilities such ascash top-ups hence Samsung working with POSpartners forthis platform approach.

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