Samsung Pay ready to challenge Apple Pay in 2016

The growing dependency the world has on smartphones has led to the increase in mobile payments worldwide. It has been forecasted that nearly one in five smartphone users will leverage mPayments at retail stores in 2016. In the United States, research data presented by eMarketer revealed there will be a 210% growth in mobile payment transactions in 2016.

Amongst the popular built-in mPayment systems is Samsung Pay, which is reported to be planning a huge push this year to try and outmuscle Apple Pay. The Korean tech giant will be expanding their reach to other prime markets: China, Spain, UK, Australia, Brazil and Singapore. Samsung said they made a deal with UnionPay, the main credit card provider in China, to bring Samsung Pay to the country.

Since its launch, the company has projected that roughly around 30 million merchants worldwide will adopt their mPayment system. In a news report by Digital Trends, it said that their universally accepted mobile payment system will work at 80% of point-of-sale (POS) systems.

The arrival of the next Samsung flagship device, entitled the Galaxy S7, is expected to contribute to the growing demand for the company’s propriety mobile payment system. Samsung has been exploring the possibility of upgrading their smartphone biometric sensor from the fingerprint scanner to the iris scanning technology. It is said to add more layers of security along with the Knox security software. The iris sensor requires the user’s eye to be scanned for verification purposes, while the Knox protects the personal account information of the user, especially when they make purchases. The built-in Find My Mobile feature also locks and disables the device remotely, including swiping all its data, if owners happen to lose their phone.

Apart from Samsung Pay, other digital modes of payments are expected to come to the fore in 2016. In particular, Bitcoin, which is predicted to reach ‘mainstream’ status this year, with many fearing it could cause the end of paper money. However, an article on the history of currencies featured by FXCM states that even with the rise of Bitcoin, it’s unlikely that it will replace traditional physical currencies, “as humans have shown a fundamental desire for a physical means of trade.” At the moment, the demand for the virtual coins remains steady. Diana Ngo wrote on Coin Telegraph that Bitcoin ATMs reached 400 units globally, and 2-way machines that can deposit and withdraw the digital money are on the rise, too.

Currently, Samsung Pay is only limited to its flagship devices, but this could be set to change soon. In a separate report, Samsung chief executive office JK Shin confirmed, the propriety mPayment system will soon be available to non-flagship phones. The software update will most likely arrive in mid-November to low- and mid-range phones. The company will also upgrade its line of budget smartphones by integrating fingerprint sensors. The company also confirmed that the Gear 2 smartwatch will have full Samsung Pay support with NFC capabilities.

Samsung is also working with other Android manufacturers to push the payment service to their handsets, which may disrupt Google’s Android Pay.

“Right now global expansion is happening so quickly for Samsung Pay that we are focusing all our energy on deployment,” which means it is unlikely we will see any partnerships in the near future,” said Samsung executive vice president Injong Rhee.