Samsung and Mastercard team up ahead of Pay launch in Europe

Samsung is preparing to follow Apple into Europe's mobile payments market.

Samsung and MasterCard are teaming up to bring Samsung Pay to Europe.

The service allows Samsung handset owners to make payments by tapping their devices against the contactless readers on stores' tills was launched in Samsung's home market of South Korea earlier this year.

The company said last month that it planned to rollout Samsung Pay to Europe. That deployment is now a step closer: Samsung and MasterCard announced on Thursday that they are collaborating on a European launch.

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Thanks to a new deal between the pair, European card issuers will be able to connect their cards to Samsung Pay when it launches using MasterCard's Digital Enablement Service. Samsung already uses MasterCard's tokenization services for Samsung Pay.

With Samsung Pay still in beta phase in South Korea, the company is promising a full launch in the country, as well as in the US, in the summer. Samsung added that it is "currently working with banks and partners to bring the payment service to Europe," but hasn't put a date on when it might launch on the continent. It is also planning to launch the system in China in future.

Samsung's contactless payments service is based on technology from LoopPay, a US digital wallet company it acquired in February. The technology not only enables Samsung handset owners to make payments with their mobiles in stores that have NFC contactless readers, but also in those that only have magnetic stripe readers.

While that potential means there are 30 million locations that can accept Samsung Pay payments, only two models of Samsung device - the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge - are currently supported by the system.

MasterCard and Samsung's announcement follows Apple's own entrance into the European payments market: earlier this month, Apple Pay was launched in the UK for Visa, MasterCard and American Express cardholders of banks including NatWest and Santander.

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