It looks as if Samsung Pay, the Korean electronics giant’s answer to Apple Pay is now available here in the USA. Samsung’s website now contains a link to a webpage touting the service.
It makes the bold and rather questionable claim that you can use it almost anywhere you can swipe your card. Given the fact that most giant U.S. retailers do not yet take Apple Pay or Android Pay, that statement is almost absurd.
The largest U.S. retailers, including Walmart, Kroger, Target and Costco, are waiting until their answer to Apple Pay, Current C, is ready until they start taking payment apps. Current C is currently being tested in Columbus, Ohio, and is not ready for rollout nationwide yet.
The page contains a few details about Samsung Pay, including:
It is only available on four devices:
- The Galaxy S6 edge+
- The Galaxy Note5
- The Galaxy S6 edge
- The Galaxy S6
Samsung Pay is only available to customers of four phone companies:
- US Cellular
It can only be used with Visa, MasterCard or American cards issued by these banks:
- Bank of America
- US Bank
- Synchrony Financial
This means that credit union members, Discover card holders, and those that bank elsewhere are apparently out of luck. Both Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay now accept the Discover card.
One has to wonder what good Samsung Pay is. It looks as if it can be used nowhere. Samsung’s website, in contrast to Apple’s, does not list a single retailer that actually takes the service. How is Samsung Pay supposed to compete with Apple Pay, which is now accepted by hundreds of banks and credit unions and dozens of retailers nationwide? Nor does the website list any apps where a person can use Samsung Pay.
Why Samsung Needs Pay
It looks as if the payment wars are really heating up. Samsung (OTC: SSNLF) in particular needs a win in this segment because its market share in the all-important smartphone segment is falling. Samsung is still the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, but falling demand for its Galaxy S6 caused its revenues to drop by 8.4%.
Samsung is still doing well, but it is hard to determine how much money it makes because it’s a Korean company and exempt from U.S. financial reporting laws. It did make around $42.35 billion in revenue in the second quarter of 2015, according to Apple Insider, which is impressive. Samsung is also losing some market share to aggressive Chinese smartphone makers.
It is hard to see how such a limited payment app is going to help Samsung boost market share. Samsung Pay looks like a niche product that will have a hard time competing with Apple Pay and Android Pay in the U.S. market. It looks as if Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) could become the dominant player in the U.S. payment app market.