This year’s Mobile World Congress, which wrapped up yesterday in Barcelona, featured several big pieces of news relating to mobile payments, the biggest being Samsung’s announcement that it will launch a mobile payment service called Samsung Pay.
The announcement drew immediate parallels with the similarly-named Apple Pay, which was released in late October to rapt attention around the world. As with Apple’s solution, Samsung’s will only be compatible with its newest smartphones – a decision that at least initially will significantly limit its potential user-base – and will offer biometric security in the form of fingerprint scanning. But there is at least one key difference: Samsung Pay will feature MST technology in addition to NFC (near-field communication), allowing it to be used with merchants which have not yet adopted NFC-enabled point of sale terminals.
Another key similarity is how the launch of such a service impacts the larger field of mobile payments, including leading independent developers of mobile payment solutions like Cellum. While it might seem to a “bystander” that Apple Pay and Samsung Pay represent unwanted competition for companies such as Cellum, these services instead offer an invaluable benefit to other players in the field, by raising popular awareness of mobile payments and helping to refine industry best practices.
“The more light that is shed on the ability of people to pay securely with their smartphones, the better it is for the whole industry,” says Jeff McAllister, Cellum’s president for North America & UK, adding that the service’s larger success will depend on how many different markets and use cases Samsung is able to quickly tackle.
Meanwhile, as with Apple Pay, Cellum will remain a “neutral player,” supporting any and all technologies which offer value to its customers and partners in advance of the coming tipping point towards universal acceptance of mobile payments the world over.