Samsung and Apple have their payments all sewn up

Samsung Pay has launched in its native Korea and is reported to be planning to roll out in the US at the end of September, and the UK.

Samsung and Apple have their payments all sewn up

The launch comes hot on the heels of Apple Pay’s UK launch, and as much under the radar

With Samsung Pay, the Korean firm hopes to galvanise a growing momentum for mobile payments but as yet we are all just waiting to see whether or not any of these mobile payment offerings are really going to take off.

For a start, they need to be ubiquitous, which neither of these solutions are, both being exclusive to only the very latest and most expensive models, and they need to be accepted everywhere. Both fare a little better in this respect; Apple Pay is accepted on any contactless EMV terminal (more widespread in the UK than the US, it’s true, but still, fairly generic) and Samsung Pay scores an extra point for its built-in technology allowing it to be used on mag stripe terminals as well due to some fairly nifty technology which transmits data through the machine via electronic signals rather than the magnetic reader. This could well give it the edge over Apple Pay, particularly in the US.

I can understand why they’ve both gone for the payments option in only the latest handsets- neither is hoping to overhaul the payments industry overnight- it wouldn’t be possible anyway as the world and its hardware simply isn’t ready for it. It will happen, for sure, and they are counting on that, for sure, but they just know it will be a slow burn, an evolution. There will never be the uptake of, say Uber, which everybody always cites- they are incomparable. Uber is an app, you download it – there is no machine other than the smartphone you already own- if indeed you own a smartphone- it’s a service that filled a gap in the market.

Samsung and Apple are in no rush for such mass adoption, hence their respective deployment of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay on the latest models only. Over the course of a few years (and numerous upgrade cycles) the majority of their customers will have these payment solutions at their fingertips- why go to the expense and effort of building this into older models when they are immediately going to wane in numbers and slowly become obsolete?

And of course, if this mobile payments malarkey does not take off, well, then they haven’t wasted all that time and expense installing it on said soon-to-be-obsolete models.

You can be sure these companies have it all sewn up. Hence the ‘soft’ launches, practically under the radar but for the gaggle of PRs and journos flapping around trying to spin the year’s biggest story. We shouldn’t really doubt them, much as the temptation is to do so.