Mobile payments in the UK have struggled to compete against contactless payments. As per recent research, just one per cent of the population would choose to use mobile payments daily, while contactless trebled in the past year to £25 billion. Initially announced in 2015, Samsung Pay has finally been launched in the UK to rival competitors Apple Pay and Android Pay, which launched almost two years ago. Although Samsung is very late to the mobile payments’ party, it still has an opportunity to steal UK market share from the competition, and possibly even become the market leader.
What sets Samsung Pay apart from its competitors is that users’ phones don’t even need to be active for payments to be made successfully. An example of where this will be put to use is in Samsung’s partnership with Transport for London (TfL), which will enable commuters to use Samsung Pay as they would an Oyster card. Commuters in London can of course also use Android Pay and Apple Pay with TfL, but their phones must be active, which has slowed commuters down and caused congestion at the payment barriers. Samsung Pay has the opportunity to be the most convenient mobile payment service available – an attractive alternative payment option for consumers and brands, alike.
It’s a shame that Samsung’s MST technology for magstripe emulation on non-contactless terminals had to be disabled in the UK. In most other countries that is their main advantage over competitors. Supposedly, the UK bank industry was reluctant to support the use of it, and this may well be the reason for the delayed market entry.
To encourage nationwide or even worldwide adoption of mobile payments, smartphone providers must work together to provide a joint solution that addresses every consumer touch point. Yes, this will create a race to consolidate the market, but with most smartphone providers, banks, retailers and public transport providing apps for consumers to pay, consumers have become overloaded with options, which has taken the convenience out of a technology that was built on convenience and is understandably preventing consumer uptake – consolidation is imperative.