LG‘s mobile payments service, LG Pay, will arrive to low-cost phones next year, according to recent comments made by LG’s mobile communication division president Cho Jun-ho.
LG Pay is a platform that allows users to make in-store payments using their smartphone, eliminating the need for credit cards or PIN entry: a smartphone can simply be tapped on a terminal to complete a transaction. The service was launched in early June alongside LG’s latest flagship, the LG G6, which is one of only two LG handsets that can currently make use of it (the other being the LG G6 Plus).
According to The Korean Herald, Cho Jun-ho said the service would expand to low-cost and premium phones next year, while The Korean Herald also stated that it would, in the future, reach global markets. For now, it’s limited to South Korea.
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At this point, LG has a lot of catching up to do on its South Korean rival Samsung, which has almost a two-year head start with its Samsung Pay platform. The Korea Herald notes that Samsung Pay is available on 12 Samsung devices, through online and offline channels, and in 14 nations. Compare that to LG Pay, functional only in local stores and using two of its phones, and whether or not it’s a better service (a question we’re unable to answer even if we wanted to), it’s lagging behind Samsung in terms of accessibility.
Samsung Pay is currently something of a fan favorite in the mobile payments sphere because it doesn’t necessitate that stores are outfitted with specific NFC terminals (unlike Android Pay). Rather, it features the more traditional Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) solution, as well as NFC. LG, on the other hand, utilizes a Wireless Magnetic Communication (WMC) system, which is said to be equivalent to Samsung’s.
Android Pay is Google’s mobile wallet that can currently be found in 13 nations. Most recently, it launched in Taiwan, but Brazil, Spain and South Korea also expected to receive support for the service by the end of the year.
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Though LG might have the upper hand on Google in its home nation, it still has to do battle there with Samsung. In the US, LG has nowhere near the same penetration — there, Google is likely to dominate, despite the current limitations of its service. All told, LG is going to have to offer a clear benefit to using its own platform over others, because just having an alternative surely won’t be enough.