Payment service Samsung Pay goes live in the U.S.

September 29, 2015 - 

Samsung Pay has officially gone live in the U.S., following its launch this past summer in South Korea where it brought in over $30 million in transaction volume during its first month, according to a report by TechCrunch.

Once they download an over-the-air software update to their device, Samsung Pay users can swipe up, scan their fingerprint and then pay.

Like Apple Pay and Android Pay, Samsung Pay offers NFC technology-based payments. However, it also offers Magnetic Secure Transmission — a patented technology it acquired from startup LoopPay that emulates a magnetic stripe card.

As the U.S.continues to transition to the more secure EMV-based credit and debit cards, and point-of-sale terminals upgrade to support EMV and NFC-based transactions, Samsung Pay will have a slight leg up over its competitors in the meantime by being able to process traditional magnetic stripe cards.

Unlike Apple iPhone users and NFC-based Android smartphone users that can only tap-and-pay at terminals supporting NFC transactions, Samsung Pay users will be able to tap-and-pay by swiping their card at almost any point-of-sale terminal due to its magnetic stripe card emulation.

Samsung’s new payment service will have its share of challenges. First of all, Samsung Pay is only enabled on select devices including the Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+ and Note5 devices, while Samsung Gear S2 devices will also support NFC in select countries in the future.

In comparison, Android Pay is compatible with almost any NFC-enabled Android phone running Android 4.4 (KitKat) or higher.

Another setback is that Samsung has yet to secure a deal with Verizon, which means Samsung Pay currently only works on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular’s networks.

Samsung Pay has several financial partners at launch, including American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America, Citi and U.S. Bank.

However, Apple Pay currently has a more extensive list of supporting banks, which means that Samsung Pay will have a more limited reach of U.S. customers at launch.

Samsung is also planning to launch Samsung Pay in China, Spain and the U.K. in the future, although it has not announced any specific dates.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.