Samsung Pay was announced at the "Unpacked" event, which the company held in New York, where it also launched the new Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 smartphones.
Samsung Pay will be preloaded on the two devices, but only in the countries where the services will work initially. This includes Korea on August 20 and the U.S. beginning September 28. The service will also be available in the UK, Spain and China at later dates.
Some users from the U.S. will be able to participate in a beta trial starting August 25, ahead of the September 28 launch. Eligible devices for the beta trial will include the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, alongside the edge+ and the Note 5.
How It Works
Samsung promised that paying with its service is as easy as swiping up, scanning your fingerprint on the phone, and then paying for your purchase.
JK Shin, CEO and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics said:
“With the launches of these exciting new smartphones, we will open a new era of mobile payment. This is Samsung's brave step forward to enhance our mobile experience. It is easy, safe, and most importantly, available virtually anywhere you can swipe a card, in most cases without new costs for merchants, from day one."
The company bought LoopPay earlier this year, which means the Samsung Pay service uses the same Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology to enable it to work with virtually all retail stores in the U.S. The technology allows the device to work much like a mag stripe credit card would, by creating the same type of magnetic field in proximity to the point-of-sale terminals (within three inches of their read heads).
Samsung seems to have added tokenization to its technology as well, which means it should be safer than using regular mag stripe cards because the credit card number is never sent to the POS terminal -- just a token (random number). However, Samsung said only the major retailers support this technology at present.
Samsung's partners for the Pay service include credit card companies such as American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa, and major banks such as Bank of America, Chase and U.S. Bank.
Samsung Pay will also work with all the major Korean card companies, including Samsung Card, Shinhan Card, KB Kookmin Card, Hyundai Card, Lotte Card, NH Nonghyup Card, BC Card, Hana Card, Woori Card and Citi Card.
Samsung also said Pay is the first mobile payment service to support store-branded credit cards, which could also boost adoption of its services across major retailers.