Samsung Pay's finally launched in the UK to take on Apple and Google

Lynsey Barber
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Instead of using a contactless card, you can use your Samsung phone (Source: Getty)

Samsung Pay has finally launched in the UK to take on Apple and Google when it comes to paying with a smartphone.

Users of Samsung phones will now be able to pay for things with a swipe of their phone when they add their Visa or Mastercard, including getting around London, if their bank supports it.

The tech firm, which has lagged behind rivals in launching a mobile wallet in the UK, has worked with Transport for London to add a feature that means the phone does not need to be "awake" or have a pin entered to be able to swipe in the same way as an Oyster card.

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More than 900m journeys have been made using contactless devices, TfL said, 31m in the last 12 months and mobile payments now accounting for one in every 10 made.

“Following the launch of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ earlier this year, we are thrilled to be introducing another innovative service to our latest flagship devices, reinforcing our commitment to making people’s lives easier,” said its vice president for mobile and IT Conor Pierce.

“We hope the UK launch of Samsung Pay will transform the way our customers pay for day-to-day items, giving consumers a safer, smarter mobile wallet.”

Initially it will be supported on Galaxy S8 andS8+, S7 and S7 edge devices, as well as S6 and S6 edges with a software updates. Support for other devices will follow.

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However, not all banks are supporting Samsung Pay at launch. Santander, Nationwide and MBNA are the only financial institutions on board so far.

Google's Android Pay launched last year and Apple Pay in 2015. Both launched with many of the big banks on board, though Barclays only joined Apple Pay in April last year and launched its own app for Android rather than getting on board with Google.

Samsung had been expected to launch Pay by the end of last year, with the tech company's European boss saying that it faced "quite a bit of competition" but was looking to "add value to the ecosystem" beyond transactions.

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