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At its Unpacked press event on Thursday, Samsung announced that Samsung Pay — its answer to mobile payment systems like Apple Pay — will launch in the U.S. on Sept. 28.
Initially, Samsung Pay will be available only to owners of the new Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Note 5. A forthcoming software update will enable it on the S6 and S6 Edge, and Samsung will begin trailing the service for some U.S. users on August 25.
Unlike Apple Pay and Android Pay, Samsung Pay supports not just NFC for retail transactions but also a separate wireless technology — acquired via the takeover of LoopPay — that can mimic a card swipe. That should give Samsung Pay a leg up when it comes to merchant acceptance, as merchants will not be forced to upgrade their payment terminals to work with NFC in order to accept Samsung Pay.
To use Samsung Pay, users choose the card they want to use, authenticate with a fingerprint scan, then tap their device on the appropriate spot on a terminal. Samsung is relying on tokenized transactions to prevent stolen data and fraud.
Early U.S. partners lined up for the service include credit card companies American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa, as well as banks like Chase, Bank of America, and U.S. Bank.
Apple Pay has been available in the U.S. since October 2014, and counts more than 425 participating financial institutions. Merchant support has expanded much more slowly however, in large part because stores have been slow to replace older payment terminals.