American Express gears up for Australian Samsung Pay launch

American Express has confirmed the launch of Samsung Pay in Australia will be happening very soon, with the credit card giant gearing up for its arrival.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Following the success of its Apple Pay capability in Australia, American Express has confirmed Samsung Pay will be available down under "very soon".

Speaking at the ADMA Data Day in Sydney, Rob Bourne, director digital commerce, capabilities & partnerships for American Express Australia and New Zealand, said his company wants to be where the customer wants to pay, confirming it will be on Australian Samsung devices in the near future.

"I can't tell you exactly when it's going to go live, but it's appearing very soon," Bourne said.

"We're not done with just Apple Pay.

"Our view is very simple, we want to give our customers the choice of how they want to pay ... we want to give them that choice and flexibility."

The partnership with Samsung was first announced earlier this year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Bourne said American Express was one of the first to jump on board Samsung Pay, seizing the opportunity almost immediately.

"We really like the Samsung Pay experience -- because it's the hardware manufacturers that are getting into payments it allows for that really frictionless experience," he said.

"It's literally just a locked phone used to pay, you're not having to get your wallet out."

Apple Pay was launched in Australia in November, with American Express the only financial institution partner joining the iPhone maker's near-field communication payments solution.

Just like with Apple Pay, Bourne said the availability of Samsung Pay to Australians will be dependent on who has issued the American Express credit card.

"It's really up to those issuers or banks to decide whether they want to be part of Samsung Pay," he said.

Although tight-lipped on the arrival date, Google did announce in December that it would also be partnering with Westpac, ANZ, St George, Bank of Melbourne, Bank of South Australia, Bendigo Bank, Cuscal, ING Direct, and Macquarie Bank to launch Android Pay in Australia in 2016.

According to American Express, it is the only card issuer currently in the market to offer both Apple Pay, and soon Samsung Pay, options to its customers.

"It's important for us to be at the forefront of seamless and innovative payment solutions, as that's what our customers want," the company said. "We deliver that now with Apple Pay and we look forward to offering Samsung Pay in the future to our personal, corporate, and small business card members."

According to the credit card giant, all Australian American Express-issued cards will be eligible to use Samsung Pay. However, the capability will only be possible on Android devices that have built-in fingerprint sensors, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S7, and S7 Edge, as Samsung Pay relies on fingerprint authentication to finalise payments.

Samsung announced the rollout of Samsung Pay in Singapore last week, a day after Apple's digital wallet service was launched in the country.

Unlike Apple Pay, in addition to American Express, Samsung Pay's partnership ecosystem in the region includes MasterCard, Visa, and major banks such as DBS/POSB, OCBC Bank, and Standard Chartered.

Singapore is the third market in Asia Pacific to receive the technology, after it launched in South Korea last year and in China via local vendor Union Pay in February.

Just this week it was announced that Samsung Pay currently has 2.59 million users in South Korea, where the mobile payment system was used 41 times per user on average in March, making it the most used mobile payment app in the country.

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