Samsung introduced to the world its own mobile payments service set to rival Apple’s during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona early in the year. Since then, we haven’t heard much about it other than endless speculation on possible launch dates and reasons for delays. While we already know that Samsung is closer to launching the service in several markets at least by the end of the year, it is the start of a testing phase in Samsung’s home market that is a key indicator that the company is still on course to deliver the service on time.
Tests on Samsung Pay began in Korea on July 15th (yesterday) and are set to continue for some time as Samsung ties any lose ends before the eventual global rollout.
The United States is expected to be the next market after Korea to get Samsung Pay when it is finally ready to hit the market.
Samsung Pay distinguishes itself from the competition by being compatible with already existing card readers that don’t utilize NFC but magnetic secure transmission. While there’s obviously a shift to NFC terminals all around the world, that alone could make Samsung Pay a hit with merchants who are yet to make the transition or are not planning to do so soon due to various factors like cost and the “if it ain’t broken then don’t fix it” mantra. Just like Apple Pay which just launched in the United Kingdom, Samsung’s biggest challenge is signing up as many partners (banks and merchants) as possible so as to make the service widely accessible. Well, and getting as many people to buy the Samsung smartphones that support Samsung Pay in the first place.