Samsung has finally launched its mobile payment service, Samsung Pay, in Europe, though it’s only available in Spain for now.
Already in South Korea, the U.S., and China, Samsung Pay is similar to other mobile payment services — such as Apple Pay and Android Pay — in that it lets users “upload” as many as 10 bank cards to their NFC-enabled phone and make payments through contactless terminals. At the time of writing, Samsung Pay-compatible devices include the Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 edge, S6, S6 edge and S6 edge+.
Today’s news comes two weeks after Google launched its equivalent service in Europe for the first time, with Android Pay landing in the U.K., its first market outside the U.S. By launching in Spain, Samsung becomes the first such payment service to arrive on the scene, so it could have first-mover advantage. But when — or if — Google brings Android Pay to market there, Samsung will face stiff competition.
“We are proud that Spain is the first European market to introduce Samsung Pay, an innovative new service that we believe will mark a turning point both in Spaniards’ payments behavior and the evolution of the payments market as a whole,” said Celestino Garcia, corporate vice president at Samsung Spain. “The opportunity for Samsung Pay in Spain is significant, due to the high smartphone penetration rate and the digitalization of the banking sector.”
It has long been rumored that Samsung Pay would be arriving in Europe via the U.K. or Spain — we now know which of these the Korean tech titan has chosen for its entry point to the market, which means that the U.K. will likely be next.
At launch, Samsung Pay will only be available for customers of CaixaBank and ImaginBank, with Abanca and Banco Sabadell customers added to the mix “soon.”