The mobile payment wars are on and Samsung just fired off another volley. Just days after Apple Pay formally started its invasion of China, the Korean manufacturer is announcing its own global conquest. And this time, China is, of course, only the starting point. Beginning March, Samsung Pay will be available in China, also China UnionPay and several of the country's major banks. For the rest of the year, Samsung has also scheduled to bring its mobile payment service to several countries in Asia, Europe, and America.
It shouldn't be a surprise why the two top mobile tech companies are targeting China in earnest. Aside from being one of the world's largest smartphone markets, it is also one of the hardest to penetrate due to economic, cultural, and political considerations. But specifically for mobile payment systems, it is also one that is ripe for the picking, where contactless payment systems have been in place and more widely used than the US.
To woo this country, Samsung built bridges with payment networks like MasterCard and Visa but most especially China UnionPay or CUP, the country's state-run authority on credit and debit payment processing. Samsung also lists major Chinese banks such China Construction Bank, China Everbright Bank, China Guangfa Bank, China Minsheng Banking Corp, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Ping An Bank.
Of course, Samsung isn't going to stop there. In the months to come, Samsung Pay will continue to roll out to other parts of the world, tying up with each country's respective banks and payment systems:
• Australia - American Express
• Brazil - Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Brasil Pre-Pagos, Caixa, Itaú Unibanco, Nu Bank, Porto Seguro, and Santander
• Canada - American Express
• Singapore - American Express, DBS, OCBC Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank
• Spain - Abanca, Banco Sabadell, CaixaBank, El Corte Inglés, and Imagin
• UK - American Express, HSBC, MBNA, Nationwide Building Society, and Transport for London (TfL)
Samsung Pay is compatible with a very few number of the OEM's devices, including the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, the Galaxy Note 5, and the 2016 variants of the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7. Some of these devices support not only NFC-based payments but also the traditional Magnetic Secure Transmission technology.
Since it launched just sixth months ago, Samsung boasts that its payment system has already gathered 5 million registered users, accumulating over 500 million dollars. And that's with just the US and South Korea alone. To secure and strengthen its position in the market, Samsung will be expanding not only its territory but also its features, adding transit passes, coupons, and membership cards in the near future.