Samsung Pay is now available on six continents after the South Korean smartphone giant rolled out the payments platform in South Africa, its first market in Africa.

In a statement, Samsung said it was accelerating its global expansion with the South African rollout, marking the 24th market where the service is available. The launch coincides with the third anniversary of Samsung Pay, which first rolled out in the company’s home market in August 2015.

Samsung also revealed it has now surpassed 1.3 billion transactions globally, with more than 2,000 banking and financial partners across the world.

DJ Koh, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics’ IT and Mobile Communications Division said the company has been “expanding its availability and forming strategic partnerships in each market to meet the unique needs of their users”.

Apple way ahead
Notably, while Samsung talked up the fact it had hit 1.3 billion transactions over three years, main rival Apple revealed last month it had processed more than 1 billion transactions during fiscal Q3 (the period to end-June) alone.

Admittedly, Apple’s growth came in a relatively short space of time, with the figure three-times higher than the number recorded in the same period of 2017. But it appears Apple’s head start (it launched Apple Pay in October 2014), is bearing fruit.

In terms of availability, Apple holds a slight advantage, with the service live in 29 markets.

Engadget, however, noted Samsung’s uptake figures may not show the full story: the company’s offering is able to imitate magnetic strips on physical banking cards, so even if NFC is not available a user can still use a Samsung phone to complete a payment. Such transactions are a lot harder to quantify.