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Samsung mobile commerce boss talks Samsung Pay, Android Pay and launch delay

Samsung Pay is to launch in Korea and the US in September 2015, later than originally planned, and then roll out to Europe, China, Australia and South America, executive vice president of mobile commerce Dr Injong Rhee has revealed at the Samsung Electronics 2015 Investors Forum.

Dr Injong Rhee at Samsung
REVEALING: Samsung’s Dr Injong Rhee

Rhee also discussed the impact of Google’s Android Pay on the market and on Samsung’s plans, as well as revealing details of a potential Samsung Pay rewards program.

“We’re looking at a September time frame, coinciding with the launch of our next flagship model in Korea and the US first, and then in Europe and China and Australia and also South America. Those are the major markets we’re looking to launch our service,” Rhee said.

“Are we going to be a competitor to Google on this particular service? Hard to answer that one without upsetting many people. Will Samsung Pay be compatible with Android Pay? That’s a possibility. I don’t think we are right now in a place where we’re going to be competing with each other. We have unique value to offer to our customers compared to other existing solutions.

“Just to be clear, we don’t want to compete with Google — Google is our greatest partner.”

“MST (magnetic secure transmission) is a unique offering to our customers. Going forward, we don’t have a particular plan on whether we’re going to compete or partner. Just to be clear, we don’t want to compete with Google — Google is our greatest partner. By working with Google, we can actually achieve bigger synergy and provide increased value. Then again, at Samsung, we like to provide differentiated value.”

Discussing whether the Samsung Pay service could be opened up to other manufacturers and the revenues the company will generate from the mobile payment service, Rhee continued: “We want to make sure the Samsung Pay solution will have market traction and then we’ll think about opening up to other manufacturers.

“Are we going to make money on a transaction-by-transaction basis? That’s not our main source of revenue, let me put it that way. About specifics, about monetary amounts that we’re going to make out of this, I can’t really comment on that at this point.

“When they actually use our form of payment and things like that and we get this revenue, we are going to return some of those revenues back to the customer as loyalty points. Stored on the Samsung Pay solution, they can use it at any other store. As they use more Samsung Pay they get more points and, because they have points on their device, they can use more transactions.

“All those transactions will create membership points, loyalty points. Working with the banks, when a customer uses our Samsung Pay, they get more cash back and that’s what I mean by the points.”

“Technology-wise, we don’t have any barriers,” Rhee added. “It just simply works for the merchants, 90% of them. When you have to insert your card, it doesn’t work in those cases. We are just saying, OK just as it is, using your existing infrastructure, we’re going to just add value on top of it; we have not seen much resistance on their part.

“I think it’s more why we’re doing this business, to help our customers and increase their happiness when they use our device. As I said, we are here to create a better experience for our customers; we’re changing their habits.”

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