LG Electronics announced it will launch its own mobile payments service in June in its native South Korea, initially rolling out the initiative on its new G6 smartphone, which just went on sale this month.
Like Samsung Pay, LG Pay will rely on magnetic secure transmission, which simulates magnetic stripe payments by transmitting a magnetic signal from the phone when the device is held against a merchant’s payment card reader.
The company has not said when or if LG Pay will be available on other devices, and has not offered any details on related fees or plans to expand LG Pay to other countries in the future.
It’s not surprising to find out that LG wants to put its own brand on a mobile payments service, given that fellow smartphone companies Apple and Samsung both have been offering that capability on their own devices for a while. What is surprising is how long it took LG to get to this point, and how little it is saying about its strategy for the service.
Apple Pay has been available for about two and a half years, and Samsung Pay has been out for a year and a half. Both are widely available in several countries, with Samsung Pay coming to India just this week. Then there’s Android Pay, available for many smartphones using Google’s Android operating system, including — wait for it — many LG smartphones already available on the market.
In addition to these major payment services with connections to mobile device makers, numerous other payment card networks, retailers and other brands have been rolling out their own mobile payment services in recent months, with likely more to come as this year plays out. LG is entering the mobile payments space well after many other brands already have established their own offerings, and it isn’t saying anything about how it will be different and how quickly it will match the breadth of availability of other mobile payment options.
While LG Pay has several things working against it, it does have at least one thing on its side: The mobile payments space, while crowded, is nowhere near mature. A study said just this week that consumer adoption of mobile payment capabilities has just about stalled. Perhaps consumers are trying to sort through all the options and see if anyone is offering an abundance of features that make its payment service the overwhelming choice. LG doesn't appear ready to do that. Samsung has to some extent, by attaching a rewards program and other features to Samsung Pay, but mobile mobile payment brands out there should try. It might be the way get ahead of the crowd and light a fire under consumer interest.