38 financial institutions go live with Samsung Pay in Australia

Samsung and Cuscal have partnered to enable 38 financial institutions in Australia to offer Samsung Pay.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Samsung Pay has on Thursday become available to the customers of 38 financial institutions in Australia, thanks to a partnership with independent payments provider Cuscal.

Cuscal boasts more than 100 clients in Australia, with Bank Australia, Bank of Sydney, CUA, Defence Bank, Firefighters Mutual Bank, People's Choice Credit Union, Police Bank, QT Mutual Bank, Teachers Mutual Bank, and Unity Bank among those now offering Samsung's wallet.

Samsung expects partnering with Cuscal to enable mobile payments for a total of 1.7 million cardholders.

Samsung Pay is available wherever near-field communication (NFC) payments are accepted, and is compatible on Samsung devices such as the Gear S3 smartwatch and the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus smartphones.

The announcement comes as Samsung Pay marks its first anniversary in Australia, with Cuscal joining Westpac, Citibank, and American Express as Samsung Pay partners in the country.

The Cuscal partnership sees Samsung now partnered with over 40 payment card brands and more than 100 different loyalty cards loaded onto Samsung Pay.

"Every partner we bring on board, whether it be a financial institution or retail brand through our Samsung Pay loyalty functionality, brings us a step closer to helping customers replace their wallets with their Samsung smartphone or smartwatch," said Richard Fink, VP of Samsung Australia's Mobile Division.

Fintech analyst Juniper Research estimates that the number of users of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay will exceed 100 million for the first time during the first half of this year, and hit 150 million by the end of this year.

Apple Pay is predicted to reach 86 million users by the end of 2017, while Samsung Pay is forecast by Juniper to reach 34 million, and Android Pay 24 million.

Although Apple Pay has been flagged as the most popular wallet, its adoption in Australia has been stifled, with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) the only member of the big four banks to adopt the iPhone maker's wallet.

Westpac, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the National Australia Bank, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank have been seeking regulatory approval since mid-last year to collectively negotiate with third-party mobile providers such as Apple on conditions relating to competition, best practice standards, and efficiency.

Throughout the process, the banks claimed they wanted access to the NFC controller in iPhones and reduced their argument earlier this year to solely focus on it, as Apple currently does not allow any other entity direct access to its technology.

The group argued that access would enable them to offer their own integrated digital wallets to iPhone customers in competition with Apple's digital wallet without using Apple Pay -- something Apple wanted to avoid.

The banks lost their fight in March, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) handing down a determination denying authorisation.

Prior to the determination from the ACCC, the banks baulked at settling for payment alternatives such as Samsung Pay, calling them "unrealistic" in the Australian market.

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