Primetime: Why LG Pay Could Easily Fail


The mobile payment landscape is currently dominated by Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. The three giants all work in much the same way, and have garnered huge amounts of users. Samsung Pay has an ace up its sleeve in the form of MST, which allows it to be used just about anywhere a debit or credit card can be used. Android Pay has an ace up its sleeve in the form of compatibility with literally any Android device that has NFC, isn't rooted and is running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and higher. While KitKat is still flourishing and some older versions are still around here and there, Lollipop and up is now the majority of phones out there, and no OEM in their right mind would ship a KitKat device in 2016 and onward unless it was a niche device like a full-Android watch phone or other such deviation from the smartphone norm, which likely wouldn't feature NFC anyway. Naturally, this means that Apple Pay's ace in the hole is the sheer number of Apple users out there, most of whom are fiercely loyal to their ecosystem. While Samsung does have sheer numbers worldwide to rival Apple, Apple's numbers are focused in developed regions of the world like China and the United States, where a mobile payment solution makes more sense.

While Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay are at the table and eating, LG has plunked themselves down in a nearby seat and ordered itself a lunch about the same size as its current number of customers, saying that it won't be left behind. Its plan in that is to have LG Pay be different than normal payment solutions. While the three big competitors work with your phone, LG is putting LG Pay into a card. A mobile form is a possibility at some point, but for now, only the card form has come to light. This makes sense, when taken as LG's concession to the fact that their hardware sales just aren't where they should be. The rise of the smartphone has seen LG fall, rise a bit, and now fall again. Their early Android efforts were nothing spectacular, with the LG Optimus One receiving a bit of time in the spotlight while consumers waited for the likes of the Motorola Droid 2, the Nexus One and the Galaxy S. They put out the first dual-core phone in the world, the LG Optimus 2X, or the G2X, in the US. In the states, it was exclusive to T-Mobile. Everywhere, despite its blazing processor and gaming features thanks to Nvidia, its low ram and otherwise ho-hum feature set gained it favorable reviews, but little fervor. The Optimus G was LG's first foray into premium, quad-core phones, and did the same thing the G2X did; got great reviews, but little market fanfare. The G2 was a sign of life, but the G3 was LG's big break. Their star was short-lived, as the G4, V10 and G5 have all failed to perform as expected in the market.

So, a card may make sense for LG, but does it make sense in general? Some may argue that the failure of Coin and the languishing decline of the relatively unknown Plastc indicate that LG is barking up the wrong tree. While Coin eventually ended up being bought up by Fitbit, Plastc is still going, but not going strong. It works in much the same way that LG Pay will reportedly work; consumers link their credit and debit cards, and simply swipe Plastc in place of their normal card. While the $155 price tag may be a bit of the reason for the decline, the lack of sales is also at least a little bit indicative of a lack of consumer interest in this sort of concept. Essentially, LG will, instead of replacing your wallet with your phone, slim your wallet down significantly. On the upside, you can own any phone you want, root and mod it to your heart's content, and even cling to dumbphones or refuse to get a cell phone at all, and you're still a potential customer for LG. On the downside, most consumers seem to want to use their phone to pay, which is not what LG Pay is offering. Still, LG says that they will be signing up with a large number of partners, and have added in an IC Chip, a One-Time Password feature, an LCD screen and other niceties to the LG Pay card, and say that you will be able to use it in all the same ways you use your debit card, even to withdraw cash from an ATM. LG Pay has a chance to succeed where many have failed, but they also have every chance in the world to blow it. Any number of factors from price to implementation of bank services could render LG Pay a poor alternative to carrying all your debit cards with you, which would defeat the purpose of having it at all. At this point, LG Pay could be wildly successful on a level that the big three could only dream of, or it could flop in short order; it's all up to how LG plays their cards.

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Senior Staff Writer

Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, Voice assistants, AI technology development news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]

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