LG launches a mobile payment service in Korea

LG announced plans for its own mobile payment service way back in November 2015, and today it finally went official with the launch.

The LG Pay service is initially limited to the G6, LG’s flagship smartphone, via a software update, but it is only available in Korea. There is launch support for cards from Shinhan Bank, KB, BC and Lotte, and LG plans to cover all of Korea’s card companies by September.

The primary focus of the service — like rival offerings from Apple, Samsung and Google — is offline point-of-sale. LG Pay requires a user’s fingerprint to process every transaction. It uses magnetic signals to enable a mobile device to communicate with a regular credit card terminal in order to make the payment. That’s the same technique used with Samsung Pay.

Users can store up to 10 cards within the service — including store loyalty cards and specific retail cards — but payment itself is made by a ‘virtual’ card number to improve privacy and keep user data safer. Beyond providing payment at point-of-sale, LG revealed that it is working to support online payments and other banking services.

An LG representative told us that there’s current no update on when, or indeed whether, LG Pay will become available outside of Korea. That’s the company’s primary focus for sales, and the country where it has the most significant marketshare, which makes it an obvious starting point. But with LG Pay badly lagging competitors such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay — which got a significant head start — and overtaken on the sales front by a range of companies, it may not make sense to ever take LG Pay overseas. We shall see.