In the world of mobile payments, it may soon pay to have a Samsung phone. Samsung Electronics Inc. announced plans to expand its mobile pay system to include cheaper phones in the U.S and allow customers to pay online. The move heats up the electronic payment rivalry between competitors like Apple Pay, Visa Checkout and Android Pay and will challenge online payment king PayPal.
Owners of lower-cost Samsung phones in the U.S. will get access to Samsung Pay “within the next year," Thomas Ko, global co-general manager of Samsung Pay, told Reuters. Currently Samsung Pay is only available on the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy Note 6, Galaxy S6 Active, S6 Edge and S6 Edge Plus. It’s unclear if Samsung will expand the electronic payment system in other countries.
Online payment support for Samsung Pay is also coming soon, Ko said. Users will be able to use Samsung Pay online, in addition to in stores. The move will rival PayPal’s online payment service.
Since launching its U.S. service on Sept. 28, Samsung Pay has had a leg up on its competitors.
Unlike Apple and Android’s mobile payment systems, Samsung Pay does not require merchants to install new hardware to process payments, making it more widely available. Payments using Samsung’s mobile pay system do not require retailers to have equipment that supports near-field communication (NFC), while its competitors do.
The U.S. is not the only market that mobile payment companies are eyeing. Apple and Samsung will soon be going head-to-head over China’s mobile payment market. Both companies recently announced that they had secured deals with China UnionPay bank to allow customers to add their credit or debit cards to their respective electronic wallet services.
Mobile payment hasn't taken off in the U.S. yet. The main reason for this is because most customers still feel it's more convenient to pay with cash or a credit/debit card, according to a recent Federal Reserve study. Security fears also prevent some from using an electronic wallet system, a reality some experts think will soon change.