Samsung has jumped into the mobile payment ring with the launch of its own platform at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Samsung Pay is going to be in direct competition with Apple Pay and, awkwardly, Android Pay, which is the platform offered by Samsung’s longtime ally Google.
The new mobile commerce and payment service is launching on the company’s new flagship smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge. It uses technology from LoopPay, which the company recently acquired, and that could give it a bit of an edge: The technology allows for a payment system that doesn’t require NFC chip readers, but can work with almost any standard swipe card device. That means that retailers in the US, where NFC readers are uncommon, will be able to adopt the payment service right away.
That having been said, the competition is still going to be fierce. Apple users are notoriously brand loyal and may not be keen to jump ship over such technical issues; meanwhile, Android Pay, based as it is on Google’s commitment to open architecture, could gain a strong market foothold if it becomes popular with the many different makers of Android devices. And then there’s Alipay, which will have a strong base in China and could expand around the world, given its parent company’s IPO last year.
Still, recent market research indicates that consumers are really starting to embrace mobile commerce and payment platforms, so there is a growing market to take advantage of, even if it is rife with competitors.