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Samsung Pay kicks off 2016 push with three-country expansion

Samsung Pay is starting off 2016 with a significant expansion, bringing its mobile payments solution to Singapore, Brazil and Australia in a move that highlights its decision to jockey for a leading role in commerce this year.

The brand announced the decision during a conference at Las Vegas’s Consumer Electronics Show before corroborating the news via its official Twitter account. Samsung is undoubtedly hoping to set the stage for a fruitful year in mobile commerce – one which will see the electronics marketer dethrone its competitors for the top slot in consumers’ digital wallets.

“There is a footrace underway, as the ‘Pays’ all rush to claim territory and engage with retailers, now that consumer acceptance of mobile wallets has finally reached a tipping point,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

“In the U.S., apps from Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have been the training wheels that have opened consumers’ eyes to the fact that storing credit card information on their omnipresent smartphones is easier and more secure than fumbling with plastic.”

Aggressive approaches
Samsung Pay’s announcement at CES arrives on the heels of its recent revelation that the United Kingdom, China and Spain will receive its mobile payment offerings in the first quarter of 2016.

While exact dates for both rollouts have not yet been released, it is safe to say that the consumer electronics marketer is ramping up for an aggressive marketing spree this year.

During the press conference, the company highlighted a key differentiating factor in its mobile solution – the fact that Samsung Pay is compatible with both older mag-stripe terminals as well as newer NFC-equipped terminals.

Its primary competitors, Android Pay and Apple Pay, only work with NFC-enabled terminals.

This suggests Samsung Pay is usable in more locations than its counterparts, which could be a big selling point for a consumer deciding whether to purchase a Samsung smartphone or another Android device. More retailers may also incorporate Samsung Pay adoption into their point-of-sale systems for this reason.

Samsung Pay, which launched in the United States this past September, will have the payments functionality in its Gear 2 device turned on within the next few months.

The brand’s strong push for worldwide expansion does place it firmly on the map for 2016. The announcement could also be a direct response to Apple’s reveal that the Apple Pay platform is set to arrive in Singapore at some point in 2016.

Nevertheless, Samsung will have the leg up on its longtime competitor, thanks to the impending expansion in the heavily-populated countries of Brazil and Australia as well.

Building on 2015
The electronics giant has been boosting its marketing efforts in recent months by dipping its toes into new locations and foraying into other ways of permeating the mobile payments space.

The Wall Street Journal highlights Samsung Pay’s key differentiating factor

Last month, Samsung Pay rolled out a new gift card store enabling users to purchase digital cards from popular merchants within the app, furthering the solution’s goal of dethroning competition in the mobile payments space as holiday sales heated up (see story).

Additionally, a MasterCard and Samsung partnership expanded Samsung Pay to Europe in July of 2015, further securing the role of each within mobile payments and advancing adoption by retailers and consumers (see story).

“Samsung Pay and Apple Pay are well-positioned, since they have the ability to pre-install their wallets into their devices,” Mr. Kerr said. “Where they are weaker is in the area of merchant acceptance, so there is a chicken vs. the egg battle with the credit cards companies, since they already have hardware installed at point-of-sale.

“International markets are typically more advanced than the U.S. with NFC, so it’s no surprise that Korean-based Samsung has announced these additions to its expansion road map.”