Samsung is heading into battle with Apple and Google in the war for mobile tap and pay users by focusing on extras such as membership and loyalty schemes as it launches Samsung Pay in Europe for the first time.
The Korean smartphone maker is facing stiff competition from Apple Pay which launched last year and Google’s Android Pay which launched last week, and is working on features "beyond tap and pay" to set it apart when it launches "later this year" in the UK.
Samsung Pay will launch in Spain next week, its first location in Europe, City A.M. can exclusively reveal. The mobile wallet lets users pay at tills by simply swiping their phone, even at locations that don't support contactless with its LoopPay technology.
It launched in Korea in August last year followed by the US in September, with Canada and China added last month. Samsung Pay is already close to surpassing $1bn worth of transactions after passing the $500m and 5m users mark earlier this year.
The plans for Samsung Pay were revealed by its director in Europe, Nathalie Oestmann, speaking at an event in London on Wednesday.
Samsung Pay in the UK, which had been slated for launch this month, will likely support travel across London's travel network. Oestmann said working with Transport for London was "very important in the UK".
Withdrawing cash from ATMs, in-car payments and integration with white goods such as fridges are innovations Samsung is exploring, she said, with the firm "well placed" with its background in consumer goods.
Oestmann admitted Samsung faced “quite a bit of competition” but was searching to add “value to the ecosystem” beyond transactions, saying it was no longer just about m-commerce.
In-car payments may mean that a user could potentially pay for parking at a shopping centre without having to do anything – technology in the car and on the smartphone would work together sensing timings while pay details would already be set up.
In Korea, people can use their Samsung smartphone to withdraw cash at ATMs, something the company was “looking at” in the UK. Samsung has demoed a smart fridge that integrated payments technology to purchase items.
While there was no confirmation of exactly what features would be available upon launch, Oestmann said these were the “kind of things we’re envisioning”.
"We're thinking through all the kinds of things we can do," she said.
Outside of “super users” who use mobile pay four to five times a day, she said Samsung would have to work to incentivise others and “buy those attitudes” with additional features such as loyalty schemes.
Rival Google plans to incorporate reward schemes with Android Pay, but that feature was not yet available upon its launch in the UK. Samsung phones run on Android and users would have to choose which one to use, with Oestmann acknowledging that consumers would only have room for one mobile wallet in their life. Samsung believes based on the trends in the US, however, that people want a third party "and are gravitating towards device makers".
Barclays has also entered the battle for control over people’s mobile wallets, launching its own mobile pay app on Android rather than supporting Android Pay.
While competition will create innovation in the mobile payments space, analysts have warned that it risks creating a fragmented market and that consumers may find the different choices complicated.