Samsung launched its Samsung Pay mobile payments service in the U.S. today, and because the service supports contactless NFC payments and magnetic strips, it can already be used at more merchant locations than Apple Pay or Android Pay.
The service is supported wherever MasterCard credit cards are honored, which means practically everywhere.
The experience of using Samsung Pay is a lot like that of Apple Pay. You swipe up on your screen, select a card, press your fingerprint to the fingerprint reader (or enter a PIN) and you’re done.
Samsung Pay uses both both near-field communication and LoopPay’s magnetic secure transmission technology. Samsung said the service can be used by Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge, and Galaxy S6 owners to make transactions at 90 percent of retail locations in the U.S.
Because the technology communicates with magnetic stripe readers, most retailers who accept credit cards should also be able to accept Samsung Pay. However, merchants won’t necessarily know that they accept the payment method, which could lead to some complications.
Samsung Pay competes only indirectly with Apple Pay, but many consumers will make a choice between Samsung Pay and Android Pay.
Apple Pay launched September 9, 2014, with mixed results so far, while Android Pay launched roughly a year later on September 14, 2015.