Samsung Pay launched in the US today, following closely on the heels of Android Pay’s debut in the American market. The two mPayment platforms are now the only serious challengers to the dominant Apple Pay service.
Samsung’s foray into mPayments has one signature advantage that could give it a competitive edge: Via its use of LoopPay technology, Samsung Pay enables smartphone payments on traditional swipe-based card readers, in addition to the NFC-enabled POS terminals required by Android Pay and Apple Pay. The technology was a $250 million investment that could pay off in the US market, where NFC technology is not yet widespread.
But the service faces obstacles, too. Verizon, one of America’s major cell phone carriers, still hasn’t signed on for the service, and both Android Pay and the deeply entrenched Apple Pay have more banks and financial institutions on board as partners offering compatible debit and credit cards. And, as TechCrunch points out, Samsung Pay is only available through Samsung’s latest mobile devices – the Note5, Galaxy S6, S6 edge, and the S6 edge+, while Android Pay can be used on any Android devices running Android 4.4 and up.
Still, Samsung’s managers and backers are probably feeling optimistic about Samsung Pay’s prospects given its enormous success in South Korea, where is has seen over $30 million in transactions in its first month alone. It’s unlikely to find quite that level of success outside of its home turf, but failure doesn’t seem to be in the cards either.