Samsung Pay recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, and to mark the occasion, three key members of the Samsung Pay team have conducted an in-house interview to discuss the service’s first year on the market, and what consumers can expect from Samsung Pay in the foreseeable future. When asked about the general response towards Samsung Pay during the service’s first year on the market, Senior Manager Jake Kim responded that one of the most common remarks from consumers is that they are happy with how Samsung Pay works almost anywhere, as this allows them to leave their wallet at home. Jake Kim added that a typical first experience for a merchant would begin with denial and with informing customers that they don’t accept mobile payments. The experience turns into disbelief when they see that Samsung Pay works at legacy point-of-sale terminals without additional steps, and enthusiasm follows.
First impressions are important, but what about the biggest challenges faced by the Samsung Pay team during the first year of market availability? Well, during the interview, Jake Kim added that the expansion of Samsung Pay hasn’t been a “copy and paste” process. The team found that the payment infrastructure and regulatory framework can vary from one country to another, and thus, maintaining consistency was one of their biggest challenges. Director Seunghan Dan views the competition as one of the biggest challenges of Samsung Pay in the first year, as many OEMs, as well as issuing banks and telecom operators are working on their own mobile wallet solutions. But according to the Director, “building strong partnerships will be key to staying ahead”. Principal Designer Sunghan Kim who contributes to the platform as a UX designer shared that one of the UX team’s challenges was to find a way to make Samsung Pay an “easier and faster method of offline payment than cash and credit cards”, while creating an “outstanding digital wallet experience”.
As far as the adoption rate goes, according to the Samsung Pay team the Korean market has been the quickest to adopt the payment service primarily because South Korea is “especially open to experimenting with new technologies”. Singapore was quick to adopt Samsung Pay as well, partly because Singapore has “one of the most advanced financial infrastructures in the region”. But another reason contributing to the success of Samsung Pay in all regions is the fact that Samsung is a hardware manufacturer. According to Seunghan Dan “Thanks to our MST [Magnetic Secure Transmission] technology, Samsung Pay is the only mobile wallet that can be accepted almost anywhere”. Jim Lim added that security plays a big role too, as Samsung Knox and hardware-level biometric authentication “sets us apart from a competitive standpoint”.
Last but not least, the developers have briefly discussed what customers can expect from Samsung Pay in the near future, and according to Jim Lim, the team is “continuously working to improve Samsung Pay’s infrastructure architecture” from an engineering standpoint, in order to “increase service availability from 99.9 percent to 99.99 percent”. Apparently, the team aims to do this by implementing a data center model allowing for the service to be more reliable. On the other hand, Jake Kim adds that the company has to keep the momentum going and “build up more added value services such as membership, loyalty and transportation cards” in order to enrich the digital wallet experience. So far, Samsung Pay is available in 7 countries and has registered almost 100 million transactions, over 4 million membership cards, and has acquired over 440 banking partners.