After 18 months of false starts, it appears that Samsung is finally almost ready to launch its smartphone payments platform in South Africa.
Banking group Absa said on Friday that selected clients will be able to test Samsung Pay before it is commercially launched in the country.
Samsung first said in 2016, at the time of the Galaxy Note7 launch, that it planned to launch Samsung Pay locally in the first quarter of 2017.
This was then pushed out to the third quarter of 2017, in time for the launch of the Galaxy Note8.
It now looks possible that Samsung intends announcing the local launch of the payments platform at or around the time of the Note9 unveiling next month. The Korean consumer electronics giant is expected to announce the Note9 on 9 August at an event in New York.
Samsung Pay allows consumers to “tap and go” to make purchases at a point of sale using near-field communication technology as well as at normal chip-and-Pin or magnetic swipe terminals using a technology known as “magnetic secure transmission”.
Samsung first launched Samsung Pay in its home market of Korea in August 2015. A month later, it was introduced in the US. It has since been launched in a range of markets around the world.
“The big thing for us is we have one shot at getting this right,” Samsung’s vice president for mobile in Africa, Craige Fleischer, said in an interview with TechCentral in April 2017. “We had made a strategic decision that until we had got to 60% total market coverage, we would not (launch).”
He said the process has proved to be more “convoluted” than expected. “We found various different security issues and ‘hard codings’ in various environments from a POS terminal perspective that caused some issues,” he said at the time.
With Absa’s announcement on Friday, it now appears a launch is near.
“Absa, in association with Samsung South Africa, will soon be offering its customers early access to Samsung Pay before the service is commercially launched in South Africa,” the bank said. “The partnership with Samsung Pay will give Absa customers even more choice on how they can make payments.
Early access will be open to all Absa customers in South Africa and will be available on the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+, Note8, S8, S8+, S7, S7 Edge, A8 and coming soon on the A5/A7 (2017 edition), it added. “Selected customers will be invited to join the early access programme over the coming days.” — © 2018 NewsCentral Media