LG officially announced that it will soon enter the mobile payments market with LG Pay. The Korean company said on Facebook that it has deals with two major credit card companies in the country — Shinhan Card and KB Kookmin Card — but did not mention a specific launch date for the service or details about how the system works.
Presumably, it will use Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology just like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. Using the popular NFC system would make it easier for LG to gain support, since it can latch onto all the same retailers whose payment terminals work with other types of mobile payments. Right now, it appears that LG Pay will launch in Korea first, and it’s unknown if it will spread to other markets.
Updated on 02-15-2016 by Malarie Gokey: Added news that LG may hold off on a wider launch for LG Pay and wait for the second quarter of 2016 to let the G5 bask in the limelight first.
Launch date TBA
Although it had been previously rumored that LG would showcase LG Pay on the G5, which is expected to launch at MWC in late February, it seems that plans have since changed.
Related: Read all the LG G5 rumors and news
“LG Electronics has delayed the official launch of LG Pay to the second quarter of this year to help the new LG flagship smartphone ― G5 ― receive more media attention,” an LG official told the Korea Times. The company denied that it delayed the launch of its mobile payments service because of limited support from U.S. credit card companies.
Earlier on, South Korean sources said an LG executive confirmed that LG Pay is coming soon. LG Pay has reportedly been in testing for a few months now. LG allegedly ran small tests in South Korea on the Watch Urbane and LG G4 in cooperation with local prepaid brand Cashbee. The fingerprint sensor on the LG V10 will support both payment services, sources say. LG is also expected to add a fingerprint sensor on the LG G5, its next flagship, which usually launches in the first half of the year.
LG Pay may include mobile payments and a smart credit card
While LG has confirmed that it will launch LG Pay sometime in the future, it’s unclear whether it will be a mobile payment solution or a physical card. Or both.
Back in November 2015, ET News reported that LG’s plan for LG Pay would be a White Card similar to Plastc or the Coin card. In other words, it would be a plastic card similar to a credit card, but it would store several credit cards and possibly connect to an app on your phone.
In late January 2016, the same site leaked images of the said card along with unconfirmed claims. ET News is reporting that the card is about the same size as a credit card, but it’s slightly thicker. Users will be able to store information for several credit cards and cycle through them using the LCD display and navigation controls. The card can also be locked so no one else can access the stored information.
Supposedly users would supposedly be able to use the White Card in ATM machines as well.
The White Card may also include metal pins for charging, and a charging accessory is rumored to ship with it. The images show what appears to be a battery life indicator on the LCD display of the White Card.
According to a representative of one of LG Pay’s partners, transactions won’t go through LG’s servers, so they are still controlled by the credit card companies. This means that banks are more likely to partner with LG Pay.
Allegedly, the White Card will come with a magnetic stripe at the back when launched, so it won’t work with chip readers. However, sources indicate that chip support will arrive at a later date.
It’s unclear whether LG will also include some sort of mobile app for those consumers who would rather make payments with their smartphones instead of the White Card.
According to ET News, the White Card will be officially unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February.
Related: Read our LG V10 review
Would LG block Android Pay?
The announcement of LG Pay won’t necessarily mean that LG will block Google’s Android Pay. The company reportedly intends to support Android Pay with Android Marshmallow on its future devices alongside LG Pay.
Once LG does introduce its own mobile payments platform, it’ll be following the trend of LG tagging onto the things its larger and more successful regional rival Samsung does. The Galaxy S6 maker recently launched Samsung Pay, a new intuitive payments service that works with any card reader, regardless of whether it supports contactless cards or NFC-based mobile payments.
LG Pay doesn’t sound like a huge advancement in the mobile payments market, but LG might be able to bake in more payment support than Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, to make LG Pay more versatile.
Updated on 01-28-2016 by Robert Nazarian: Added images and unconfirmed claims regarding LG Pay’s White Card.
Updated on 11-19-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added confirmation from LG that it will launch a mobile payments service.