Personal Finance

The Newest All-in-One Mobile Wallet

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It sounds almost like a magic trick: Make a purchase through a magnetic field.

But that’s exactly what Loop does. It’s a new mobile payment gadget, available now in fob form and in April as an iPhone case. The Loop Fob and Loop ChargeCase generate magnetic fields like magnetic stripe credit cards do when swiped. The credit card reader registers the field within 3 inches, according to the FAQ section of Loop’s website.

It works in conjunction with a free smartphone app LoopWallet, which you use to toggle among payment and loyalty cards. You can also upload pictures of IDs to the app.

Users can adjust settings to lock the Loop Fob after 10 minutes, an hour, 24 hours or indefinitely, so someone could not use the fob without activating it in the app first. You can also set the fob to work only when physically attached to the phone (via headphone jack).

Information security is a typical concern with new financial technologies, and it’s always wise to increase how often you monitor your accounts when trying out a new financial service to make sure you don’t see any charges you don’t recognize.

Then there’s the functionality of the device. The Loop Fob is $40 and the company says the device will work with 90% of credit card readers. It works by battery power and would need to be recharged every 300 transactions. While it could definitely help you lighten your wallet, the company advises you to shop with a backup plan — at least one credit card and one physical form of identification.

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Image: iStock

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