Samsung Pay lands on Verizon

Verizon customers can finally start using Samsung's mobile payments service, which works in almost all stores.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
2 min read

Samsung Pay is now available on all the major US carriers. Sarah Tew/CBS Interactive

Samsung is finally going to help Verizon customers at the checkout counter.

The nation's largest wireless carrier now supports Samsung Pay, the Korean electronic maker's mobile payments service. Verizon customers with the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ or Galaxy Note 5 can download the Samsung Pay application onto their phones starting Wednesday. Verizon is the last of the major US carrier to announce compatibility with Samsung Pay, which launched on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular at the end of September.

Introduced back in March, Samsung Pay arrived in the US approximately one year after rival Apple launched its mobile payments system, Apple Pay. Google also launched a new mobile payments service, Android Pay, in September. All the services allow customers to wave their smartphone in front of a payment terminal instead of swiping a credit card.

The concept of paying with a smartphone was alien to people on both sides of the cash register just a few years ago, but mobile payment services are gaining some traction. Smartphone payments at a point-of-sale terminal totaled $3.5 billion in the US last year. That number is expected to surge to $118 billion by 2018, according to eMarketer.

"We are proud to partner with Verizon to bring Samsung Pay to Verizon customers," said Nana Murugesan, Samsung's vice president of strategy and operation, in a statement. "With Samsung Pay, Verizon customers will be able to shop like yesterday and pay like tomorrow. With the widest acceptance of retailers, Samsung Pay works almost anywhere you can swipe or tap your card."

Samsung believes it has an advantage in the burgeoning mobile payments market. Samsung pay will work in almost all stores, including those that use older magnetic stripe point-of-sale terminals.

Samsung Pay uses a near-field communication, or NFC, chip to talk with compatible registers. Apple Pay and Android Pay also use this technology. Samsung Pay, however, also uses a technology called Magnetic Secure Transmission that works by holding a smartphone near a traditional card swipe reader. It essentially makes Samsung Pay backward compatible for nearly all payment terminals.

Samsung Pay is currently available to Samsung smartphone owners in the US and South Korea. The company plans to eventually bring the service to China, Spain and the UK.