Apple has Apple Pay, Samsung has Samsung Pay, Android has Android Pay, and now LG has LG Pay. Long rumored, it now seems as though LG Pay is finally almost ready for launch.
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.
Launch date: June
The launch date for LG Pay has undergone quite a few changes over the past year, but the latest news comes from Reuters, which notes that LG has confirmed that the service will finally launch in June of this year in South Korea. It’s not yet known if the service will launch outside of South Korea — and if so, when. Initially, the service will only be available on the LG G6 — however, it’s expected to come to more devices soon after.
Previously, it was rumored that LG would launch the service alongside the LG G5 at MWC 2016, however that didn’t end up happening. Then, the company announced that it was delaying the service to the second quarter of 2016 — which didn’t happen again. The company denied that it delayed the launch of its mobile payments service because of limited support from U.S. credit card companies.
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.
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.
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.
Would LG block Android Pay?
The announcement of LG Pay won’t necessarily mean that LG will block Google’s Android 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 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 03-22-2017 by Christian de Looper: Added news that LG has confirmed June launch date in South Korea.