Slideshow In Pictures: Samsung Pay's Winding Path to Market

  • August 07 2015, 10:36am EDT
8 Images Total

The first version of the Samsung mobile wallet is nothing like the Samsung Pay that is now making its way to handsets. But the one consistent theme in Samsung's strategy is to be the first to experiment with new technologies.

Samsung Wallet, 2013

In early 2013, Samsung launched the Samsung Wallet, which stored payment cards and tickets in a similar manner as Apple's Passbook. Though the system (which lasted through mid-2015) did not use Near Field Communication for contactless payments, Samsung was already building many of its phones with NFC.

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Setting a Higher Bar

Most mobile wallets use blocky QR codes because traditional bar code laser scanners don't work with smartphone screens. But the Samsung Galaxy S4 was built with a special sensor that sends pulses of light to a bar code reader, imitating the black-and-white sequencing of a standard bar code.


Samsung's purchase of LoopPay, which makes technology that wirelessly simulates the swipe of a payment card, enables its phones to work with 90% of ordinary payment terminals.

Carrier Billing

Samsung also works with Bango, a U.K. company, for its carrier billing services. Digital content sold through the Samsung Galaxy Apps store can be paid as a charge on the user's phone bill worldwide.

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Close to Home

Samsung Pay's early pilots are taking place in South Korea, where the technology giant is based. The tests involve a limited group of consumers using the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge handsets.

Going Global

Samsung is also planning to deploy its mobile wallet in Europe and the U.S., and MasterCard is on board to provide its tokenization service for the wallet's use in both regions. Tokenization, which is also used in Apple Pay, protects account data by replacing it with a secure value called a token.

TV Time

Samsung is also a major manufacturer of televisions, and its "Smart TVs" will let viewers purchase digital content such as games. Though Samsung Pay on TV shares branding with the Samsung Pay mobile wallet, it supports older payment types such as credit cards, debit cards, PayPal accounts and carrier billing.