Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest smartphone maker, said Wednesday its new mobile payment platform, Samsung Pay, will be available for use by the second half of this year, which is expected to bring changes to the financial technology industry.
The South Korean tech giant said it is moving to clinch ties with six local credit card firms by the summer and is aiming to open the service to the public during the second half of 2015.
It has already joined forces with at least 10 U.S. financial big names, such as VISA and MasterCard, as well as U.S. Bank, American Express, Bank of America and Citibank.
Earlier this week, Samsung said its latest high-end smartphone, the Galaxy S6, which is expected to hit the market in April, will feature its own mobile wallet solution.
Industry watchers said Samsung Pay stands out from other competitors, such as Apple Pay, as the service supports virtually all forms of payment -- Near Field Communication, Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) and barcode technologies -- which reaches far more registers than that of its rivals.
The breakthrough was made possible after Samsung decided to buy U.S. mobile technology firm LoopPay Inc., which has patent rights related to MST, a payments solution that works with existing magnetic stripe readers, they said.
While only 10 percent of U.S.-based shops and 1 percent in South Korea have NFC-based services, more than 90 percent of shops in both countries support the MST platform, implying Samsung Pay will be able to grab a strong market presence once launched, industry watchers added.
Samsung, however, has not yet clarified how to generate profits from the new payment platform.
"In the long run, Samsung Pay will issue gift cards or seek advertisement opportunities," a Samsung official said. "For now, we plan to focus on the South Korean and U.S. markets rather than the global market."
It has not yet come up with a plan to compete against Google Inc.'s "Google Wallet," one of its key rivals. Last month, Google extracted an agreement from three U.S.-based wireless carriers to pre-load Google Wallet on their Android smartphones. (Yonhap)