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by Edward O'Brien 0

Visa and Mobeam are the apparent winners in the payments space with Samsung’s March 14 announcement of the new Galaxy S4 phone.

The inclusion of Visa’s payWave app is no surprise, as Visa Inc. and Samsung had announced a partnership earlier this month to include Visa’s contactless payWave applet in all next-generation Samsung phones. The companies say they expect 100 million next-generation phones to be sold over the next 12 months, all with NFC capabilities built in to an embedded secure element.

But the surprise was the inclusion of Mobeam’s patented light-based communication technology, which enables laser scanners already installed in millions of retail locations today to receive digitized coupons, event tickets and cards transmitted from the phone.

From NFC World:

“Making cutting-edge smartphones work with barcodes might not sound sexy, but it means consumers now have the ability to beam items such as coupons, loyalty cards, gift cards and event tickets at millions of locations — something that was previously impossible,” said Chris Sellers, Mobeam CEO.

The addition of Mobeam’s technology adds viability to bar code use for mobile payments, most commonly supported by quick-response (QR) bar code readers at the point of sale. Mobeam’s technology mimics the black-and-white sequencing of standard bar codes. But instead of reading an image of the code from the phone, laser scanners at the point of sale receive similar information from light pulses emitted by the device.

With merchants having 165 million such scanners installed today, it brings mobile payments at the point of sale closer to becoming a common payment method. Combine that with Samsung’s plans for NFC, and it appears the market is inching closer to deciding which technologies survive the race for mobile payment at the point of sale. Expect more mobile-payment apps to support light-based technology.

The sleeper still remains Apple, whose Passbook app supports QR code-based payments from third parties but which has yet to directly support a payments technology of its own. It’s possible Apple could play an agnostic role on payments technology by supporting multiple technologies, as Samsung has done, and focus instead of identification verification through fingerprint biometrics, rumored to be included in the next version of it iPhone.

Click here to read more from NFC World.