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Android Pay kicks off in the US

Android Pay, a contactless mobile payment system and a rival to Apple Pay, rolls out in the US today, marking the beginning of a new competition between old rivals.

Similar to Apple Pay, which is reserved for Apple’s devices running iOS only, Android Pay is designed for consumers running Android-powered phones.

Some Samsung devices running Android will have two contactless payment systems installed – Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

All three services let people buy goods at retail stores by tapping their phones against the store's payment terminal. The user's debit or credit card on file then gets charged.

Android Pay will start rolling out in the U.S. on Thursday, though it might take up to a week for some users to get it from the Android app store. The app will come installed on new, compatible phones from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon - the Softcard partners.

Softcard was a joint effort by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile but failed to produce a significant effect. It was later acquired by Google and incorporated into Android Pay.

Samsung Pay has been available in South Korea since August 20. A US trial began August 25, with a broader debut planned for September 28.

Apple Pay launched in the U.S. last October and expanded to the UK this summer.

Google Wallet, which was the American company's first attempt in mobile payments, failed significantly because it did not have big enough of a network of compatible devices and wireless carriers willing to work with the new service.