samsung takes the lead in mobile commerceWhen it comes to the NFC payment system technology that enables mobile ecommerce, who do you think will win the race to universal adoption – the tortoise or the hare?

Apple Pay, which has had a slow 2015 in terms of adoption by major retailers (despite its acceptance at 30,000 feet), may be losing ground to a competitor. Samsung, which recently unveiled its own payment system deemed Samsung Pay, is gaining speed in the race to become the most widely accepted alternative payment technology. Samsung Pay will be available on all Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones – but it won’t launch until this summer. How then, can a payment processor that isn’t even in effect yet be pulling ahead of long-time frontrunner Apple Pay? Because it asks less of the retailers it wants to partner with.

To accept Apple Pay during checkout, a retailer must install new technology on registers that identifies and accepts payments coming through an iPhone. Some retailers, such as McDonalds, Petco, Walgreens and Sephora have this technology up and running. Others, like Target, Wal-Mart and CVS do not, because they are already accepting another (albeit possibly smaller) competitor, CurrentC. Samsung Pay, on the other hand, operates as both an NFC (near field communication) system as well as a traditional magnetic strip system. It can be ‘swiped’ like a credit card, meaning retailers do not need to change much of their checkout process in order to accept Samsung’s payment system.

According to Samsung spokespeople, Samsung Pay has the potential to be accepted at 30 million merchant locations worldwide. Apple Pay is currently accepted in 200,000 locations. Apple Pay may have Jerry Seinfeld appearing in its commercials, but so far, Samsung may have the upper hand. Given that the Samsung Pay technology still has until summer to hatch, Apple may pull ahead with newer, more adaptive technology or even a creative alternative solution. In the meantime, what’s your preference? Do you use any of the payment solutions mentioned here?

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