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MWC 2015 – Samsung Pay: The Industry Verdict

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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What does the technology sector really think of Samsung’s new mobile payments kit?

Samsung was one of the most exciting companies at this year’s Mobile World Congress show, revealing not just two new flagship smartphones, but also a new virtual reality headset as well as Samsung Pay, a new mobile payments technology that could revolutionise the industry.

Looking to top rival Apple Pay by mimicking magnetic-strip payment systems, meaning any retailer that currently accepts credit, debit or NFC payments can adopt the technology, Samsung Pay could well be the service that takes mobile payments into the mainstream. But what does the technology industry make of the new service? TechWeekEurope rounds up the best of the responses below.

Samsung Galaxy S6Phil McGriskin, MD, Worldpay Futures

“After the launch of Apple Pay and Google Wallet’s new Softcard alliance, it is no surprise that Samsung is looking to include NFC payment on its latest model. While we have seen a huge 386 percent growth in contactless in the UK, there is still some scepticism in using phones rather than cards for consumers, but as more smartphones come on board this will normalise NFC payment technology for many. All of this will hasten the demise of the physical wallet, particularly where high volumes of low value transactions cause queues.”

Dan Wagner, CEO, Powa Technologies

“Samsung’s acquisition of LoopPay ahead of the launch of its S6 flagship model shows that mobile payments are at the centre of an aggressive push by the major players in the sector. The transition from a physical to a digital wallet is gaining traction as a growing number of consumers are looking for the fastest, most convenient and secure platforms to complete transactions.

“Apple Pay was the early introduction to the fast-growing mobile payments space. With the LoopPay technology already having made its way into more than 90 percent of US retailers, Samsung has a significant advantage over Apple Pay and Google Wallet, which work in only two percent of the US stores. However, what is truly necessary for the mobile payments market to take off is the introduction of a ubiquitous standard – a payments solution that will be available across devices, merchants and card providers which could trigger the massive adoption of mobile payments.”

mobile paymentsTobias Schreyer, co-founder and CCO, The PPRO Group

“It has already been an interesting few months for the mobile payment industry and it doesn’t appear the pace will be slowing any time soon.

Following Samsung’s recent acquisition of LoopPay, it was assumed that Google Wallet was out of the running, yet Google rose from the dead and came fighting back by acquiring technology and intellectual property from Softcard, who has been offering it’s own tap-and-pay mobile app since 2012. The previous introduction in 2014 of Apple Pay to the iPhone 6 and new iPads was set to position Apple as the most powerful force in the sector, however with the additional announcements from Samsung and Google; we can expect an interesting year for the mobile payment market.

As all payment methods are NFC compatible, it will be interesting to see how Samsung rivals Apple in particular, both of which use fingerprint sensor for authorisation, but with only Samsung currently able to offer retailers the chance to convert their existing magnetic stripe readers into contactless payment receivers. This additional feature alone would leave many to assume that Samsung may take a secure victory, but they also offer the ultimate advantage of allowing users to include loyalty cards, gift cards and other types of cards in the system, advantages that so far Apple Pay and Google Wallet don’t have.

Due to its successful presence in the market at an early stage in the race, Apple Pay has been accepted by leading banks and credit cards across the world. With US wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile agreeing to pre-install the Google payments app on Android phones sold by the carriers, Samsung is left with a challenge to gain the same level of acceptance. With only VISA agreeing to work with LoopPay to date, it is yet to be seen who will consolidate the market.  As we see these payment options enter the UK market, we can expect to see this encourage the whole industry to adapt at a faster rate.”

Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer, MasterCard

“We are excited to work with Samsung as they deliver Samsung Pay to consumers around the globe. The security and simplicity we are able to deliver through our digital enablement service is rapidly changing the way consumers can shop. The launch of Samsung Pay will continue to drive momentum for mobile payments and provide a broader set of digital experiences.”

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