Samsung Pay launches in Singapore

After US and South Korea, Samsung will be launching its mobile payment facilities in Singapore. This comes shortly after recent launch of Apple Pay in Singapore in April.

Similar to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay payments can only be authorised through fingerprint scans.  Some of the 40 brands which have already jumped on the bandwagon include 7-Eleven, Best Denki, BreadTalk, Challenger, Cold Storage, NTUC FairPrice, M1 and StarHub. The electronics giant has partnered with major payment networks such as American Express, MasterCard and Visa, and major banks such as Citibank, DBS/POSB, OCBC Bank and Standard Chartered to enable the mobile payment.

According to a press statement, Samsung will also be exploring potential collaborations with Singtel in the mobile payment space. After Singapore, Samsung Pay is also looking to make its way down to Spain, UK, Brazil, Australia and China in the near future.

This is very much unlike Apple Pay which had only partnered with American Express at launch. However, it has since expanded its services to global payment options such as MasterCard and Visa and also partnering with local major banks such as DBS, POSB, OCBC Bank and UOB.

According to Thomas Ko, vice president and global co-general manager of Samsung Pay at Samsung Electronics, the introduction of Samsung Pay last year in other regions has seen great momentum and consumer adoption.

“We are excited to bring this service to Singapore consumers and we hope to introduce value-added services to drive and lead innovation in mobile commerce, giving consumers a safer, smarter and better mobile wallet,” Ko said.

“We have established extensive partnerships with card networks, issuers and merchants for Samsung Pay to be readily available almost anywhere for consumers in Singapore, so that everyone can have the opportunity to enjoy the simplicity, safety and convenience of the mobile payment service,” Stephen Suh, president, Samsung Electronics Singapore, said.

According to Prantik Mazumdar, managing partner at Happy Marketer, said such a move introduces healthy competition into the mobile wallet space and would work well in Singapore given the high smartphone penetration and usage.

However he added that some concerns that players in the mobile wallet space should consider are security and the type of offers mobile wallets can bring to the table.

"Since Samsung has a pretty huge market share of smartphone handsets in Singapore, it would be up to competitors such as Apple to offer more partnerships with other brands to expand its offerings to consumer to differentiate its brand from the others," Mazumdar said.

“The release of Samsung pay in Singapore is potentially pivotal to the development of connected commerce in Singapore,” Oliver Spalding, group head of strategy, SE Asia & Greater China of DigitasLBi said.

He explained using your mobile to pay is a natural addition to their payment repertoire and the market has tended to be a little reticent about security so Samsung should still highlight security features.

“Singapore has been slow to adopt e-commerce, which represents 2.1% of total retail versus 15.9% in China. These new payment options will play a key role in accelerating growth toward 6.7% ($5.4bn) by 2025 forecast by Temasek and Google,” he said.

However, Spalding was quick to add that Apple seems to have put Samsung at a disadvantage, potentially spoiling the Korean brand’s ability to retake share from Singapore’s leading OS.

Taken overall this is still great for the Singaporean consumer and businesses, who are already well used to convenient instant pay options like NETS and Paywave.