Samsung Begins Trialling Its Payments Service In Korea

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Samsung has begun rolling out its answer to Apple Pay in Korea this week.

The service is called Samsung Pay and it is powered by LoopPay, the Boston-based company that Samsung snapped up earlier this year. It’s due to launch in Korea and the U.S. first before expanding worldwide, but Samsung has nudged it into action with a pre-launch pilot program among Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge owners in its home country.

They seem nearly identical, but Samsung Pay has a couple if differences compared to Apple Pay. While both support NFC, Samsung’s service goes a step further with support for magnetic secure transmission (MST) technologies in existing point of sale devices. That’s convenient for retailers who don’t need to upgrade their terminals to support it.

Like Apple, Samsung customers pay by putting their device near the payment terminal in store and either authenticate payment via their fingerprint or by inputting a code. The Samsung Pay app lets users stash a range of credit cards for use, but actual data is neither stored on device nor sent during a transaction. Samsung said it uses “a variety of security technologies and a high level encryption system” to keep data safe.

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The Korean firm shuttered its wallet service earlier this year, explaining that “the usage rate was not what anyone expected.” It then moved on to payments with the deal for LoopPay. It’s still early days for Apple Pay, which expanded into the UK this week, and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact Samsung’s response has — both in terms of retail and engagement/retention of existing Samsung customers.