Samsung Pay invitations can now be requested from Samsung if you own one of the following devices: Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+ or Galaxy Note 5. You also need to be on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or US Cellular.
Verizon doesn't yet support Samsung Pay, and it's still "evaluating" it. However, it's not clear why this should be a carrier's job, nor why Verizon wants to become a middleman between Samsung and its customers. Verizon, along with AT&T and T-Mobile, have already given up on any intention of being in the mobile payments market when they sold Softcard (former Isis Mobile Wallet) to Google.
Samsung customers who want to use the Samsung Pay service will also need an active Samsung account, a "qualifying card" from Bank of America MasterCard and Visa, or a U.S. Bank Visa.
The qualifying cards include:
Bank of America consumer credit, debit cards, small business debit cards (owner card only), Merrill Lynch consumer credit cards, U.S. Trust consumer credit, debit cardsU.S. Bank consumer or small business Visa credit and debit cards, Elan Financial consumer or small business Visa credit card
Customers who are accepted will receive an email notification from Samsung.
Samsung Pay can work much like Apple Pay, through a secure NFC channel, and it can also use tokenization to create random numbers that can be accepted by the point-of-sale (POS) terminals as virtual credit card numbers, to make the transaction. However, this feature isn't yet supported by the vast majority of stores in the U.S. -- just a few larger chains.
Samsung bought LoopPay earlier this year, which used a technology called Magnetic Stripe Transmission. This technology can emulate how a mag stripe card works by creating a similar magnetic field within three inches of the POS terminal, and then allow the smartphone owner to make the purchase.
Because it essentially replicates a mag stripe, Samsung Pay could be used at the vast majority of stores in the U.S. Ultimately, though, most of those stores will also upgrade their terminals to ones that accept the more secure NFC-based and tokenized transactions. However, that could take a few more years, and if Samsung's phones remain popular, they could power a significant number of contactless mobile payments in the U.S.