Samsung Pay has arrived in the United States — though currently only on a trial basis.
Select owners of Samsung’s Galaxy phone lines — S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+ and the Note5 — will get a chance to take Samsung’s answer to Android Pay and Apple Pay on a test drive.
The service allows users to upload cards into the Samsung mobile wallet and then use said phone to pay … well, actually, wherever.
Ubiquity of access is the secret sauce associated with Samsung’s mobile platform. Both Apple and Google are NFC (or mobile) locked at present, meaning customers can only tap into said services if the merchant they happen to be patronizing at the moment has an NFC-compatible terminal. Though, theoretically, such compatibility will become more widespread as the EMV integration rolls on (many EMV terminals are also NFC-compliant). At present, the saturation of the tech in the merchant community is fairly low — particularly when stacked up against the dominant mag stripe.
Samsung made a “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” type decision earlier this year and acquired Loop, a mobile payments platform that allowed those mobile transactions to ride along the standard mag stripe rails. Loop brought that functionality to Samsung, meaning Samsung Pay jumps into the market with less fanfare than its Apple-based equivalent, but it is compatible for out-of-the-box use with 90 percent of U.S. merchants.
However, Samsung Pay at this juncture also has some limits. Apple, for example, can be used for native mobile purchases; Samsung Pay only works at physical retailers.
The beta is now open to those with the right phone who also carry US Bank or Bank of America cards, according to Droid Life.
Samsung is expected to formally launch the new payment feature on Sept. 28, 2015.