Samsung’s mobile phone powered payment solution will be coming to Australia, and perhaps sooner than you think, with a launch all but confirmed for mid next week.
Samsung has sent an invite to journalists to attend an event next Wednesday to launch Samsung Pay into Australia. Included in the launch will be a hands-on demonstration of the technology at work, meaning that deals with local payment processors must already be in place. American Express and Citibank are all but confirmed to be launch partners for Samsung Pay in Australia, with reference to both brands in the invite sent around earlier today.
We know that — locally at least — Samsung’s 2016 flagship mobiles will be supported by Samsung Pay. Both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge will likely support Samsung Pay in Australia from launch, as well as others from Samsung’s recent releases including the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7. Samsung’s 2015 range also support Samsung Pay in other countries, but it is unknown whether they will be supported here (though it does seem likely).
Samsung Pay is one of a number of competing mobile payment technologies variously available at the moment. Android Pay is widely anticipated to come to Australia soon (with Google having previously said it would sometime in the first half of this year), but with time fast running out, it looks less and less likely that Google will be able to honour that timeframe.
Of course, many Australian banks already support mobile phone payments using EFTPOS terminals, including NAB, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and others. ANZ has recently joined up with Apple Pay to allow iPhone users to pay using their mobiles at EFTPOS terminals, joining American Express on the already launched service.
The banking partners will be a big deciding factor on whether Samsung Pay takes off as a popular service locally; we know that American Express is not a very widely used brand in Australia, and so without some broader access for Visa or Mastercard holders, there could be some hurdles to adoption.
Samsung Pay’s differentiating factor is that it doesn’t just rely on NFC (near field communication) to work; using virtual MST (magnetic stripe technology), Samsung Pay compatible devices can transmit credit card information to older EFTPOS terminals which don’t support Tap and Pay, making it more useful in Australia, but significantly more useful in other countries where Tap and Pay is far, far less common.
We’ll bring you all the details on Samsung Pay’s launch mid next week.