BUSINESS

Samsung Pay accelerates overseas foray

By Kim Young-won
  • Published : Apr 22, 2016 - 17:14
  • Updated : Apr 22, 2016 - 17:14
Samsung Pay, a mobile payment service run by tech giant Samsung Electronics, is making global inroads.

The Seoul-based tech behemoth announced Tuesday that it would make its mobile payment system available in Singapore in the second quarter of this year -- the first launch in Southeast Asia -- following the launch of the mobile payment solution in the U.S., China and South Korea last year.

A Galaxy S7 Edge user uses mobile payment solution Samsung Pay. (Samsung Electronics)

The announcement reflects the intensifying tug-of-war between Samsung and Apple to take the lion’s share of the mobile payment industry.

Just a day before the announcement, the California-headquartered tech firm had rolled out its payment solution Apple Pay in Singapore, which is well known for its established financial industry.

At the moment, Apple Pay only supports American Express cards in the city-state, but it will soon be compatible with credit and debit cards from Visa and banks such as DBS Bank and United Overseas Bank.

Samsung, which is working in partnership with MasterCard and Visa, plans to tie up with DBS Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation and Standard Chartered in Singapore.

The Korean firm has been fast expanding its partnerships with global banking and financial institutes for its mobile payment solution Samsung Pay, which supports conventional payment terminals as well as NFC-based terminals.

“Samsung Pay clearly has an edge over Apple Pay due to its better compatibility, and Samsung will increase its footing in the world’s mobile payment market by rolling out low- and mid-end smartphones equipped with the point-of-sale solution,” Kim Dong-won, an analyst from Hyundai Securities, told The Korea Herald.

He anticipated that at least 320 million handset units sold every year will be equipped with Samsung Pay, based on the firm’s handset sales last year. This will boost local chip module venders for the mobile solution such as Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Hansol Technics, and Amotech.

Lee Jae-yong, Samsung’s vice chairman, is trying to beef up ties with financial firms by meeting with their CEOs.

The vice chairman met with CITIC Group chairman Chang Zhenming and UnionPay chairman Ge Huawong to discuss collaborations for Samsung Pay before the mobile payment service made its debut in China in March this year.

UnionPay, the largest credit card firm in China, has issued 5 billion credit and debit cards and is partnering with 22 million stores across the nation.

The Korean tech giant is also preparing to roll out Samsung Pay in the U.K., France and other parts of Europe, this year. It has, however, recently faced some challenges as some banks and card companies opted not to support Samsung’s payment system in some European nations.

Despite some hurdles along the way, market analysts have anticipated that its global expansion would gain momentum down the road due to Samsung Pay’s easy-to-use user interface.

Samsung recently inked a partnership deal with leading point-of-sale solutions developer Verifone Services in accelerating the adoption of Samsung Pay in the U.S. retail sector.

Verifone said in a press release the Samsung Pay would “reinvent the in-store shopping experience,” as it allows any form of payment to be available for consumers.

Samsung, which is reportedly planning to have almost all its mobile and electronics devices fitted with the mobile payment system, is cooperating with its partner Oculus Rift to incorporate Samsung Pay into the virtual reality headset Gear VR.

As Nathalie Oestmann, the head of Samsung Pay Europe, said in a recent interview, the company will allow Samsung Pay users to make in-app purchases down the road as well, a feature already available with Apple Pay.

The number of Samsung Pay subscribers surpassed 5 million in the first six months since its launch in August 2015.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)