Samsung begins testing its Apple Pay rival in South Korea

Samsung Pay trials have begun.

Samsung Pay trials have begun.

Apple finally turned on Apple Pay in the U.K. this week as part of its push to make 2015 ‘the year of Apple Pay’, but it may soon face competition from its biggest rival, Samsung.

In preparation for a full roll out later this year, Samsung has begun testing its contactless payment service, Samsung Pay, at select locations in South Korea starting on July 15th.

Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge users are the first to have access to Samsung Pay, which the company claims will be accepted in more stores than any other mobile payment service in Korea. Unlike Apple Pay, Samsung Pay works on both NFC terminals and magnetic secure transmission technologies, making it compatible with most retailers’ point of sale terminals already.

Korea isn’t an area where Apple focuses on competing against Samsung, but it could help the company gain an early lead in other Asian countries for contactless payments while Apple prepares for a launch in China. Apple hasn’t announced a launch date for Apple Pay in China yet, however, rumors claimed earlier this year that Apple was working hard with Alibaba to get the service launched in the country soon.

To keep card data secure, Samsung Pay substitutes card numbers with an encryption token that banks can use to link to credit cards. Samsung plans to launch Samsung Pay in the U.S. next, but a launch date has not yet been announced.