Why Samsung Pay is taking so long to get to the UK

It's complicated...

Yet another big Samsung event has passed and, still, all we know is that the company's mobile payment service will hit the UK and Australia vaguely sometime "this year".

Samsung Pay has been live in the US since September 2015, so why is it taking so long to make its way across the pond? We put the question to Rory O'Neill, Samsung's European Vice President of Brand and roduct Marketing, who explained the complexity of the ecosystem that's delaying Pay from its UK arrival.

"If you think about what you have to do with Pay, you've got to get the experience right on the app, you've got to get the experience right on the phone on the payment terminal," he told us.

"You've got get the experience right with the merchant, you've got to get the experience right with the card issuers, the payment transaction providers and the bank. So the ecosystem in payment is more complex than certainly probably we've been used to, or what the mobile industry has been used to."

Apple's own payment service, Apple Pay, arrived in the UK and US last year, but Android Pay is also still missing in the UK, set to also arrive later in 2016. Apple's end-to-end control over its devices has no doubt helped it get ahead of the game, but even that took several months to make its way across the pond.

But it should be worth the wait: in our hands-on review, we explained that Samsung Pay is actually superior to rivals thanks to its near-universal compatibility with terminals.

Pay up

"We're not going to dictate what the card issuer does," said O'Neill. "We're not going to dictate who gets paid what. We're not going to dictate who plays and when they play and what technology they have to have in their terminal."

"We're going to go into an industry and go back to the core and the spirit of the company to seek to understand and then react."

While the last comment is something you'd sooner expect to hear from the mouth of Yoda than a Samsung exec, you get the point: switching on a payment platform in a new country is a lot more complicated than launching a phone.

"NFC is a twenty year old technology looking for a use case, he added, "so I think that collaboration just takes time, and our principle is that we're not gong to do it until it feels right."

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