The fight to become King of mobile payments has become fraught with competition since Apple threw their hat in the ring with Apple Pay. Since then we've seen Samsung Pay and Android Pay launch, all offering similar services, but to slightly different ecosystems and their users. While Apple Pay is, unsurprisingly, locked entirely to Apple devices, Samsung Pay is currently exclusive to some Samsung devices but could end up coming to other models. Android Pay on the other hand has been available on all devices running Android – that are compatible with the service – since it launched towards the end of last year. Now, Samsung Pay is steadily starting to enable international payments.
As you might have imagined, Samsung Pay got off to a big start in South Korea, with the majority of big-name card issuers in the nation partnering with Samsung. These cards could be used with Samsung Pay inside of South Korea, but now KB Card, Samsung Card, Lotte Card, and Hana Card have partnered with their global counterparts Visa, MasterCard, UnionPay, JBC and co. This will allow users with KB Cards, Samsung Cards, Lotte Cards and Hana Cards to use them with Samsung Pay in the US and China. This might not mean much to the majority of readers, but this is an important step for any mobile payments platform, and particularly Samsung Pay. This is the first step for Samsung Pay to be used worldwide, and devices like the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 can be used with older, mag stripe card machines. This makes Samsung Pay once again one of the more versatile payment options out there.
This expansion to the US and China is described as Samsung Pay's 1st Phase of international expansion, the 2nd Phase should see them head to Europe and South East Asia. Europe appears to be a tough market for payment options like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay to break into, as the card providers themselves seem intent on offering their own solutions, such as Barclaycard's new app offering and many cards offering contactless payments, offering a tap and go payment solution from the cards themselves. Regardless, this is a big step for Samsung Pay and shows the industry that the South Korean giant is capable of expanding beyond their home turf and the US.