Mobile payments have come a long way since Apple made a huge push into the space with Apple Pay in 2014. Google introduced Android Pay in 2015, and Samsung has joined the fray with its own mobile payment system called Samsung Pay. Here’s what you need to know about it.
Which banks, cards, and stores support Samsung Pay?
Since Samsung Pay works in different countries, the company has had to work with banks and credit card providers to ensure that the service is accessible to its users. Here’s a breakdown of the banks and card issuers that are on board for each country.
Samsung Pay in the U.S.
Samsung Pay works on most major U.S. credit cards, and the company is always adding more to the mix. Most recently, Samsung added PayPal to its list of growing partners. Just last week, PayPal was introduced as a payment option across Apple’s iTunes and App Stores, but Samsung’s integration, like Android Pay’s, goes a step further — allowing you to use a virtual PayPal card to make transactions at brick-and-mortar retailers around the country.
Through Samsung Pay, users will be able to pull from their PayPal balance just as they can with a standard debit card. However, Samsung Pay’s proprietary magnetic secure transactions (MST) technology means you’ll even be able to use the funds stored in your Wallet at legacy payment terminals that lack NFC functionality. Although PayPal integration will roll out in the United States first, Samsung states it will arrive in other countries “soon.”
After years of waiting, Discover cards have finally been added to the platform, according to Android Police. Discover had been listed as a major partner back in August 2015 when Samsung Pay was announced, and had pledged support in 2016 — though it didn’t actually arrive until this week.
With Discover joining the fold, Samsung Pay now cooperates with all major American credit card networks for contactless transactions. Meanwhile, a total of 38 banks and credit unions in the U.S. were added in mid-May 2016, including 1st United Credit Union, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, AmergyBank of Texas, Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, Arsenal Credit Union, Bank & Trust Company, and many more.
An additional 39 banks and credit unions in the U.S. were added in early May 2016. They included Achieva, Alcoa Tenn Federal Credit Union, American Heritage Federal Credit Union, Bangor Savings Bank, and more.
Samsung also added 19 new issuers of U.S. credit and debit cards in December 2015. They were Visa issuers PNC, TCF Bank, CFE Federal Credit Union, Financial Center FCU, Greater Kinston Credit Union, Keypoint Credit Union, Numerica Credit Union, Utah Community Credit Union, Amegy Bank, California Bank & Trust, PenFed; and MasterCard issuers KeyBank, AchievaCU, Associated Bank, Bayport Credit Union, Bethpage Credit Union, Cambridge Savings, USCCU, and Navy Federal Credit Union.
That was two months after Samsung added 14 banks in October 2015, including Citizens Equity First Credit Union, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, State Employees’ Credit Union, SunTrust, Virginia Credit Union, and Navy Federal Credit Union Visa.
Samsung announced that you can now use “eligible” Wells Fargo credit and debit cards with Samsung Pay — bringing its number of supported banks and credit unions up to 70. Recently, the Korean giant said its mobile payment service hit 5 million registered users and processed around $500 million in its first six months of existence.
The MST technology ensures that Samsung Pay supports private-label credit cards (PLCC), thanks to partnerships with Synchrony Financial, Blackhawk Network, and First Data Corporation. The company also joined forces with the two biggest credit card providers, the aforementioned MasterCard and Visa, in making Samsung Pay a reality. In the United States, Samsung Pay is supported by American Express, Bank of America, Citi, U.S. Bank, and JPMorgan Chase credit cards.
The company estimates that some 30 million merchant locations worldwide will accept Samsung Pay at launch. In other words, Samsung believes that it has come up with the only mobile payment system that is universally accepted. In contrast, both Apple Pay and Google Wallet only work at select locations where NFC is accepted. Samsung Pay won’t work everywhere — credit card readers that require a physical trigger, like U.S. ATMs and gas pumps, aren’t compatible. But Samsung says the Samsung Pay will work at 80 percent of point-of-sale systems when it debuts.
Samsung Pay will be secured with Samsung’s own Knox security software, which is widely regarded as one of the best security systems for mobile devices, as well as ARM TrustZone. Just like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay doesn’t store personal account numbers on the user’s device, and uses tokenization to protect your credit card information whenever you make a purchase. If you should lose your phone, you can lock and disable the device remotely to turn off access to Samsung Pay, thanks to Samsung’s Find My Mobile feature.
Samsung Pay in China
Samsung Pay launched in China with a healthy list of supporting banks and credit card providers. These include, China CITIC Bank, China Construction Bank, China Everbright Bank, China Guangfa Bank, China Minsheng Banking Corp., China Merchants Bank, Hua Xia Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Ping An Bank. The complete list can be found on Samsung’s website here. Future compatibility with Bank of China, Bank of Beijing, and others is promised to come soon.
Samsung Pay in Spain
Samsung Pay launched in Spain with only CaixaBank and ImaginBank as bank partners. However, the payment service will expand to Abanca and Banco Sabadell customers in the near future. Furthermore, El Corte Inglés is the first private card issuer in the country to support Samsung Pay. Finally, at launch, Samsung Pay is compatible with business like Cepsa, Cervecería La Sureña, Domino’s Pizza, Fridays, Ginos, Grupo DIA, MediaMarkt, Mercadona, Phone House, Repsol, Rodilla, Saba, Starbucks, The Good Burger, The Wok, VIPS, VIPSmart, and 100 Montaditos, with more following in the near future.
Samsung Pay in Thailand
Samsung Pay launched in Thailand in October, and the payment system is now widely available in the country. In Thailand, Samsung Pay works with both MasterCard and Visa cards from KCC, Bangkok Bank, Citibank, KasikornBank, KTC, and Siam Commercial Bank.
Samsung Pay in Sweden
Samsung Pay initially made its way to Sweden in beta form, but has since fully launched in the region. According to Samsung, the service is available with a number of banks and cards, including SEB, Visa, MasterCard, and Nordea. Not only that, but support has been extended to Entercard, Handelsbanken, ICA Banken, Rikskuponger, and Swedbank.
Which countries support Samsung Pay?
Samsung Pay is currently available in the U.S. on all major carriers’ networks, as well as in Spain, South Korea, China, Thailand, and most recently the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Hong Kong, and Switzerland.
Samsung initially promised Pay would expand to the U.K. and Canada sometime in 2016, but has backtracked on its promise to the former. In a statement, Samsung said, “Following successful launches of Samsung Pay around the world, we are planning to launch the service in the U.K. in 2017.
Now, the service is finally available in the U.K. — and it supported MBNA, Nationwide, and Santander banks at launch. Now, a month later, a few more banks have joined up — including HSBC, First Direct, and M&S Bank.
The service fully launched in the UAE and Sweden in April following beta testing. Those two are the first Middle Eastern and Nordic markets to receive Samsung Pay. For users in Hong Kong and Switzerland, the platform is only available in early access form at the moment, with a limited number of supported banks.
It was first brought to Thailand in October 2016, but the system is now much more widely available in the country. In Thailand, Samsung Pay is compatible with MasterCard and Visa cards, and a range of banks are supported, including KCC Bangkok Bank, and Citibank.
Samsung Pay arrived in Brazil in July 2016. It’s supported by the county’s largest institutions, among them Banco do Brasil, Brasil Pré-Pagos, Caixa, Porto Seguro, Satander, Banrisul, Bradesco, Nubank, and Itaú-Unibanco. And it will support both Visa and MasterCard accounts.
The payment service is now available in Puerto Rico as well — cards from U.S. territory’s largest bank, Banco Popular, are now supported and Samsung Pay is available on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Claro networks.
In mid-June 2016, through a partnership with Citibank and American Express, Samsung Pay formally launched on Galaxy devices in Australia. Availability varies by “local operator,” Samsung warned, but users in the Land Down Under should be able to pay at any sales terminal that accepts conventional debit and credit cards.
Also in June, Samsung Pay went live in Spain. Unfortunately, users in Spain will miss out on one major feature of the payment service: support for magnetic point of sales. In other words, Spanish residents can only use Samsung Pay at NFC terminals, with Samsung giving no indication as to whether that will change.
That same month, Samsung formally brought the service to Singapore as well. The announcement came quickly after Apple Pay launched in Singapore, but only for American Express card holders. Samsung will support MasterCard and Visa in the country, and Samsung Pay is available to customers of the DBS Bank, Standard Chartered, and Oversea-China Banking Corporation.
On March 29, 2016, Samsung Pay went live in China through Samsung’s previously announced partnership with China UnionPay. The deal, announced in December 2015, is crucial, as UnionPay is China’s main credit provider. In addition, Samsung partnered up with Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay’s parent company, which will further expand Samsung Pay’s presence in China. The partnership will allow users of Alipay, China’s largest third-party payment processing service, with over 450 million users, to use Samsung handsets to pay for products and services.
Driving these international launches forward is Samsung’s extended partnership with MasterCard overseas, helping Samsung Pay break into Europe, and for people to activate debit, credit, and reloadable prepaid cards. It also supports Visa and American Express, along with other major payment networks. The full list can be found here. Additionally, Samsung has signed a partnership with point of sale equipment company Verifone, helping adoption in the U.S. and internationally.