It may have been a long time coming, given that Apple Pay has been available for more than two years, and Android Pay for more than 1 year, but Samsung Pay has finally arrived in the UK.
Samsung have been experimenting with different ways to convince its users that it is more than just a mobile device provider, in order to generate additional revenue streams, and Samsung Pay could be the solution.
Version 2.7.17 of Samsung Pay can now be downloaded for free from the Galaxy Apps store, provided you own a Samsung smartphone – the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge and Edge+, and Galaxy Note 5 are all compatible with the service.
Samsung Pay will allow secure mobile payments to be made at participating shops and Point of Sale (POS) devices.
So far, Samsung has revealed that they are partnering with Visa and MasterCard on the project, as well as Santander, Nationwide and MBNA banks – with American Express, First Direct, HSBC and Marks & Spencer’s banks to follow suit shortly.
Samsung say that thanks to the introduction of MST, which is compatible with NFC, as well as traditional magstripe devices, their payment service could be accepted at as many as 30 million merchant locations around the world.
“Samsung Pay will reinvent how people pay for goods and services and transform how they use their smartphones”, says JK Shin, CEO and head of IT & Mobile communications at Samsung.
“The secure and simple payment process, coupled with our robust partner network, makes Samsung Pay a truly game-changing service that will bring value to consumers and our partners in the ecosystem.”
The service certainly comes with robust security in place. Payment security is provided both by Samsung Knox, which is also used by the UK Government, and ARM TrustZone, which work together in harmony.
The payment app can be found in your Samsung smartphones’ Samsung apps folder and is easy to download, and card registration is also straightforward – although you may need to install an update straight off the bat.
Then you have the choice whether to use a pin or upload your fingerprint, which is easy to do, and handy if you did not scan your fingerprint when you first purchased the device.
It’s easy to input your card details, and provided your card supports Samsung Pay, you are ready to go. Samsung will ask you to make Samsung Pay your default mobile payment device, but beware – if Samsung Pay does not accept your current card on its system, and Android Pay does, best stick with Android, at least for now.
To activate, you slide your finger up from the bottom of the screen, select your card, scan your fingerprint (or input a pin), and tap the phone on the card reader, click next, and complete the payment.
The service also has a deal in place with Transport for London (TfL) that ensures Samsung Pay always selects the designated travel card if you have more than one card registered.
It will need to be a slick service, to avoid creating an angry queue of commuters forming behind you as you wait for the fingerprint scan to complete at the tube turnstile, but all the signs are that Samsung has unveiled a smartphone payment app to rival Apple and Google.
Rumour has it that Samsung wants to provide its service to non-Samsung smartphone users, although it has been suggested in some quarters that the App Store has already rejected Samsung Pay’s app, and Android Pay, having been around for longer, will be tough to take market share from.
Let battle commence!