Samsung Pay’s UK release has been delayed until 2017 amid reports that it’s tied up in negotiations with banks.
The company’s mobile payment alternative service, which allows people to use their phones and smartwatches to make small contactless purchases in shops much like Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay, has been available in the USA and South Korea since 2015. Since then, it has arrived in nine other countries, including China, Russia, Spain, Brazil, Australia, and Thailand.
Samsung had been planning to roll the tech out in Britain at some point this year, ahead of a wider European release, but according to the Telegraph, its bid has run into difficulties.
In its official statement, the company would only confirm that “following successful launches of Samsung Pay around the world, we are planning to launch the service in the UK in 2017.”
According to one unconfirmed rumour, the service could be launched alongside the Galaxy Note S8 when it arrives next year.
Samsung Pay is based on LoopPay, a startup it acquired in early 2015. While Google and Apple rely on near-field communication (NFC) to communicate with special terminals, Samsung’s offering also works on devices which only support magnetic stripes, using magnetic secure transmission, or MST, which transfers data from a device to a terminal’s swipe slot via an electromagnetic field—allowing it to be used in more cases and on older tech.
In places like the US, where chip ‘n’ pin tech is not widely used and many vendors still rely on swiping cards, Samsung Pay appears to be at a distinct advantage over its competitors. In South Korea, meanwhile, users can withdraw money at certain ATMs using Samsung Pay.
“The major appeal of that is there is no major upgrade required from the merchant, and because of this, it pretty much ensures the user can use Samsung Pay at any merchant that has an NFC reader or a legacy reader,” Samsung Pay director Victor Kim said in 2015. “I like to think of it as the ‘belt and suspenders’ approach to mobile payments.”
However, because Samsung devices are Android-based, users who are particularly keen to make contactless purchases with their phones are able to use Android Pay, which has been operational in the UK since May this year. It isn’t supported on Samsung’s smartwatches, however.
Apple Pay launched last July, and is now supported by all major UK banks.
The delay may cause fresh consternation at Samsung, after a highly embarrassing product recall for its most recent flagship phone, the Galaxy Note 7. A spate of battery explosions eventually forced the South Korean behemoth to withdraw the smartphone from sale, causing its mobile division profits to collapse by 96 percent year-over-year.
Listing image by Samsung Tomorrow