When Samsung launched its mobile payments service — Samsung Pay — in the U.S. at the end of September, it was missing one major name: Verizon. (Yep, the company that owns AOL, which owns TechCrunch.) Now, the Korean company has remedied the situation after it released a Google Play app specifically for America’s largest carrier.
The app is compatible with Samsung’s Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 smartphones. Samsung covered AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular customers on launch, those eligible for Samsung Pay got an over-the-air update to bring the service to their device — they can also download the app if they wish, but its primary purpose is to bring the payments service to Verizon’s user base, which includes more than 105 million postpaid subscribers.
“If you are a Verizon user and your phone needs to be updated to work with Samsung Pay, you’ll be prompted to download the necessary updates during the application installation process. Once installed, you can open Samsung Pay, input your necessary information and instantly start paying directly from your qualified Samsung smartphone,” Samsung explained in a blog post.
Samsung Pay’s technology — which it acquired through buying LoopPay for $250 million — is impressive. It works with magnetic stripes, as well as EMV and NFC payment terminals, while Apple Pay and Android Pay are limited to NFC. But Samsung’s footprint is somewhat more restricted given the handful of phones that it supports, and its fewer banking partners.
As we wrote back in September:
Samsung Pay is launching in partnership with a number of financial partners, including American Express, Visa and MasterCard, as well as Bank of America, Citi and U.S. Bank. But, out of the gate, Android Pay works with those partners as well as Discover and a number of other banks and issuers, including Capital One, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, Regions, USAA and Wells Fargo. And rival Apple Pay’s list of supporting banks is even more extensive than either of these newer Android solutions.
That said, in the same way that it expanded to cover Verizon, Samsung will be working to extend its retail partner footprint as the U.S. mobile payment war heats up.