LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS SHANGHAI 2015: Recently appointed vice president of Samsung Pay, Thomas Ko, talked up the wide range of payment points where the forthcoming service will be accepted, arguably its strongest suit as it prepares to do battle with Apple Pay.
However, the former Citibank exec gave out scant information on the Korean giant’s launch plans for mobile payments. He joined Samsung from the US bank only six weeks ago.
The Samsung newcomer used his appearance at the Digital Commerce Summit to acknowledge that Apple Pay is “doing really well, pioneering mobile payments”, although he was careful to add his rival’s adoption rate was “not astounding”.
There are three factors behind a successful mobile payment launch, he said: Simple, Secure and Everywhere. “We acknowledge we are not good at ‘Simple’ but we are working on it.” Next up, he declared “security is a perception issue” which Samsung was “throwing engineers and PHDs to work at”.
But it is the third area – “Everywhere” – which Samsung hopes will play to its strength. Through its acquisition of US vendor LoopPay, the Korean vendor has access to its magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology, which enables mobile payments to be accepted at traditional point-of-sale (PoS) terminals, not just those equipped with NFC.
MST gives Samsung a window of opportunity while the payments industry upgrades to NFC, although it is dependent on the Korean vendor bringing its service to market in a timely manner.
However, no more detail was given about Samsung Pay’s rollout beyond what is already known: a second-half of 2015 launch for the service in US and South Korea, expanding into other regions going forward.
It has been thought that Samsung Pay’s debut would coincide with the launch of the vendor’s next flagship device, the Galaxy Note, although a report last week said the vendor might draw the device’s launch forward to mid-August, to steal a march on Apple’s launch of the next iPhone, likely to be in September.