Samsung Pay a huge hit in South Korea, still on schedule for US

JC Torres - Sep 24, 2015, 5:30am CDT
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Samsung Pay a huge hit in South Korea, still on schedule for US

With Apple Pay and the recently launched Android Pay, the mobile payment market is already getting crowded. Come Monday next week, it will we become even more so when Samsung finally launches its delayed Samsung Pay in the US. But in order to boost confidence it what many might think of as “yet another payment system”, Samsung is proudly sharing how its service has been a wild success in South Korea, to the tune of about $30 million in total transactions in just the first month alone.

Expected earlier this year, Samsung pushed back the rollout of Samsung Pay, perhaps to coincide with the launch of the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 edge+. Last month, it got the ball rolling first in its home country, where it is reporting positive adoption numbers. As of September 20, a month after it launched, Samsung Pay had an accumulated transaction volume of 35.1 billion KRW, roughly $30 million, spread over a total of 1.5 million transactions.

Those are indeed encouraging figures, but one might say that it is to be expected considering its is on Samsung’s home turf. Replicating that success in the US, where it will be up against Android Pay and Apple Pay, might be more difficult. That said, Samsung does have one technological advantage over the other two. Both Google’s and Apple’s mobile payment systems are dependent on NFC and therefore requires specialized equipment. Samsung Pay, on the other hand, supports both NFC and traditional magnetic strip, which potentially removes one barrier to adoption.

That advantage, however, is perhaps offset by the limited number of handsets that support Samsung Pay. It is currently only available on Samsung’s most high end, and also most expensive, models, such as the Galaxy S6, the Galaxy S6 edge, the Galaxy S6 edge+, and the Galaxy Note 5. As it is a hardware issue, it is not easy to transfer those capabilities to older models.

The US is just the first stop that Samsung Pay will be making on its mission to spread to other countries, a mission that starts 28th September. The UK, Spain, and China are also in Samsung’s target. The Korean manufacture introduced some value-added features to Samsung Pay in Korea, like a Samsung Card for online payments and transportation services. It hasn’t made any mention of plans to do the same for the US or future markets.


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