Samsung Pay begins its trial in South Korea this week. For those not in the know, Samsung Pay is Samsung’s answer to Apple Pay, the mobile payment system that Apple first launched in October of last year. Samsung Pay is powered by LoopPay, the Boston company that Samsung acquired earlier in 2015.
Samsung’s mobile payment system is expected to be launched first in South Korea and then in the United States (reportedly in September of this year) before rolling out to the rest of the world. But by starting its trial in the Korean market via a pre-launch pilot program targeted to owners of Samsung’s flagship devices (the Galaxy S6 and its curvy sibling the Galaxy S6 Edge), the company is taking a huge first step in bringing its own payment system to all mobile users across the globe.
Even though Samsung Pay and Apple Pay are both considered examples of contactless modes of payments, there are some notable differences. The two make full use of near field communications (NFC) technology, but Samsung’s system differentiates itself by offering support for magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology in today’s point of sale (POS) terminals. This should be welcome news to retail chains who will not have to upgrade their existing terminals in order to support Samsung Pay.
Similar to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay works by having mobile users facilitate payment for purchases by waving their mobile devices near payment terminals in business establishments, and either authenticate transactions through fingerprint scanning or by keying in a specific code. As for Samsung Pay, its mobile app allows mobile users to save various credit cards, but no information is actually stored on the mobile device nor transmitted at anytime during the whole payment process.
Before Samsung Pay, Samsung had a wallet service but eventually shut it down several months ago because the usage rate for the service never met the company’s expectations. The South Korean mobile giant then started to explore the idea of mobile payment systems, culminating in its acquisition of LoopPay. That deal has certainly borne fruit -- fast forward to now and Samsung is already beginning to trial its Samsung Pay system in its home country.
Apple Pay may have already gotten to a pretty nice start (Apple’s mobile payment system has just landed in the United Kingdom), and most definitely, Samsung Pay will have some catching up to do. If the testing goes well in Korea, Samsung’s mobile payment system will, for sure, make its way to American shores next, and then eventually, the rest of the world.
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