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Samsung Pay can be used where other similar mobile payment applications can't, thanks to its use of magnetic-stripe technology.

Samsung Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet application released originally in South Korea in 2015, supporting contactless payments and near-field communications, along with magnetic secure transmission to support magnetic stripe-only payment terminals.

The application was developed from intellectual property that belonged to LoopPay. Samsung acquired LoopPay, which was a crowdfunded startup company, in February 2015. LoopPay's developers said originally that, because of its design, the technology it developed would work with almost all point-of-sale units in the US -- except those terminals requiring a card to be physically inserted in a slot to function.

Samsung phones use the Android operating system developed by Google (GOOGL - Get Report) . Before Samsung Pay, Google introduced Android Pay - now Google Pay - the same year. Android-operated Samsung phones used to provide both.

The biggest difference between Samsung Pay and Google Pay is that Samsung Pay can be used at magnetic stripe-only terminals, while Google Pay can only be used at near-field communications, or NFC, terminals.

How to Use Samsung Pay

Currently, to use Samsung Pay, you need a Samsung mobile phone. On it, you need to create a Samsung account. 

Next, you need to verify the fingerprint you have on your device. If you haven't registered your fingerprint, you can do it now while you're setting up Samsung Pay. 

If you don't want to use a fingerprint for verification, you can skip it and set up a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for authentication instead. 

To launch the app, swipe up on your phone. The swipe up function will bring up Samsung Pay even on an inactive, locked or home screen, according to Samsung. Or, you can tap the app icon to launch it from your phone's screen. 

You can add your choice of credit and debit cards. If you're unsure whether your bank is participating with the app, check with your bank first. 

To add a card, launch Samsung Pay. Next, add the card. You can use your phone's camera to scan your physical card into Samsung Pay. You'll be asked to verify your card information, and agree to the app's terms and conditions. You'll receive a one-time verification code, which you'll need to enter to complete the process. Cards can also be added manually, if you prefer, by typing in the information. 

When you want to use the app, launch it. You'll be asked to choose which card you've uploaded you'd like to use. 

Authenticate you're the user with your fingerprint. 

Hover the phone's back near the card reader until the transaction is confirmed, which usually takes around 15 seconds. 

You'll be asked to sign, as with a physical credit card, and receive a receipt. 

If a payment terminal is made for you to make a payment, you can again make a payment by placing your phone with the credit card you intend to use selected in Samsung Pay by placing your phone directly against the terminal. After the terminal recognizes your card, the cashier will enter your purchase amount. 

If a card reader, or desktop payment operating system, is available, you can use Samsung Pay as well - but in that case, the amount should be entered first, before you place your device, where normally you'd swipe your card.

Where Is Samsung Pay Accepted? 

Because of its magnetic stripe technology, Samsung Pay is accepted at more places than apps like Google Pay that use only near-field communications technology. 

In other words, it works with virtually any card reader where you would swipe or hover your card, in the U.S. and 16 other countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and the U.K. 

Places that require a card to be inserted, however, won't work with Samsung Pay, such as gas stations and ATMs. 

Also, because Samsung Pay is an application on a Samsung phone using Google's Android operating system, both Google Pay and Samsung Pay cannot be used on the same phone. To use Google Pay instead, after activating Samsung Pay, you would have to change your phone settings. 

Which Phones Can Use Samsung Pay? 

Samsung Pay is available on Galaxy S phones, starting with the Galaxy S6, and up to S10, including the S10e and S10+; Galaxy Note 5, up to Note 10; Galaxy A5, up to A9; Galaxy J, up to Galaxy J7 Max; Galaxy C, up to C9 Pro; Galaxy On5, On7, and W2017 and W2018, both of which are non-Galaxy phones. 

Samsung Pay is also available on Samsung smart watches Gear S2 up to Gear S3; Gear Sport and Galaxy Watch. 

How Is Samsung Pay Different From Apple Pay or Google Pay?

As noted, even though Samsung phones use Google's Android operating system, you can't use Google Pay on the same phone without changing its settings. And Google Pay is only NFC compatible - it can't be used in place of swiping a card with a magnetic strip, like Samsung Pay can. 

For this reason, Samsung Pay is also accepted in more places than Apple  (AAPL - Get Report) Pay. 

However, a number of mobile payment apps, like Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal (PYPL - Get Report) , Venmo, Square Cash and Circle Pay also let you pay from a web browser. 

With Samsung Pay, you can't see your account online and you can't make payments to people at other websites with the app. 

But PC Mag, for instance, after considering the others, made Samsung Pay its Editors' Choice for in-store payment apps in 2018.

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