Samsung Pay service launched in Thailand
Handset giant bets on e-payment adoption
South Korean phone maker Samsung yesterday introduced its full mobile payment service, Samsung Pay, in the Thai market with the goal of attracting at least 1 million users in 2017.
"Thailand is the ninth country in 10 markets globally with which we have established our mobile payment presence, and the third country in Asia-Pacific apart from Singapore and Australia," said Elle Kim, vice-president for the payment business group at Samsung Electronics.
Samsung sells its smartphones in 150 countries.
Samsung Pay is intended to serve the shift in consumer behaviour towards a cashless society and the e-payment platform. Samsung Pay can be used to make purchases nearly anywhere cards are accepted.
To use Samsung Pay, customers simply need to open the Samsung Pay app and tap their compatible Samsung smartphone against the near field communication (NFC) or magnetic security transmission reader to make a payment or settle small bills in convenience and department stores.
Samsung has a network of 100 retail partners in Thailand after the soft launch in November last year.
Samsung Pay can be used with any retailer who supports either NFC or swipe cards.
Consumers will need a Visa or MasterCard from one of six credit card issuers that Samsung has partnered with: Bangkok Bank, KTC Credit Card, Citibank, Siam Commercial Bank, Kasikornbank and Krungsri Consumer.
The six issuers cover 70% of credit card holders in Thailand.
Samsung plans to collaborate more with credit card issuers to increase the service coverage to 90% of credit card holders.
Statista, a leading international statistics portal, predicts mobile payment transaction value in Thailand will reach US$4 million (140.2 million baht) in 2017. That figure is forecast to reach $36 million in 2021 -- growing at a compound annual growth rate of 72.3% during 2017-21.
Ms Kim said Samsung is banking on the Thai market due to a several supporting factors like the government's national e-payment scheme and the widespread use of smartphones and e-commerce.
Wichai Pornpratang, corporate vice-president for IT and mobile communications at Thai Samsung Electronics, said there are more than 400,000 electronic data capture terminals or card-swipe machines in Thailand. Of those, up to 94% use magnetic stripes, while the remaining 6% support NFC.
"Samsung is the first phone maker jumping into the mobile payment fray in Thailand," said Mr Wichai. "We expect to have 1 million customers using Samsung's Pay service by year-end."
Ms Kim said Samsung Pay will extend its service beyond mobile payments in Thailand, with the planned services including royalty cards and e-commerce payments.
She added Samsung Pay was not created to generate revenue. Rather, it is intended to build brand loyalty with Samsung devices.