The rumours were correct and, as of today, Samsung Pay is officially available in the UK. You can download version 2.7.17 right now free from the Galaxy Apps Store on your compatible Samsung phone or tablet, including the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.
Today's launch comes as no great surprise, following Samsung representatives telling various customers on social media that the service would be available today. A couple of weeks back it also began listing UK-specific Samsung Pay FAQs on its website.
What is Samsung Pay?
Samsung Pay is a mobile payments service that allows secure mobile payments to be made at participating shops and points of sale.
It was originally thought to be useful only for Samsung devices, however the company evidently had hoped to also take on competitors including Apple Pay and Android Pay. According to MacRumors the Samsung Pay Mini app was been rejected from Apple's App Store (no great surprise), but the company is still planning an Android launch for the app, which is expected to feature the Bixby AI assistant that was announced just ahead of the Galaxy S8.
Samsung Pay allows you to make payments using your Samsung Galaxy smartphone, smartwatch or tablet. Samsung has already partnered with Visa and Mastercard on the project, and is working to get major banks involved.
The introduction of MST makes Samsung Pay a universal solution that is compatible whether the checkout terminal supports NFC or the traditional magstripe found on debit- and credit cards. Samsung says this means the payment service could be accepted at 30 million merchant locations worldwide.
It says it takes only a few steps to add a card to your Samsung Pay account, and using your phone to pay for goods and services is then simple, fast and secure - more secure than carrying a credit card in any case, with no account numbers held on the device and all sensitive data replaced with unique tokens. Payment security is also provided by Samsung Knox and ARM TrustZone, which work together to prevent fraud and data theft.
“Samsung Pay will reinvent how people pay for goods and services and transform how they use their smartphones. The secure and simple payment process, coupled with our robust partner network, makes Samsung Pay a truly game-changing service that will bring value to consumers and our partners in the ecosystem,” said JK Shin, CEO and head of IT & mobile communications at Samsung.
When is the Samsung Pay UK release date?
Samsung Pay UK release date: 16 May 2017
Samsung Pay has been available in the US since September 2015, but didn't officially make its way to the UK until 16 May 2017.
However, while the app is now available on the Galaxy Apps Store, we've had some teething troubles setting things up - we press Start and nothing happens. We're sure this will be quickly rectified, however.
Which UK banks support Samsung Pay?
Samsung says the following banks support Samsung Pay in the UK:
More partners including American Express, First Direct, HSBC and M&S Bank are coming soon.
Which phones are compatible with Samsung Pay?
Right now Samsung Pay is available on the company's high-end smartphones, which include the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6, S6 edge and S6 edge+, and Galaxy Note 5.
The company is reportedly planning to roll out the service to other phones lower down its range, however. See also: LG Pay.
This previously might have been problematic, due to the need for a fingerprint scanner (or the Galaxy S8's iris scanner) to authorise payments, but apparently now all you will need is a PIN. This will allow the company to get a foothold in developing countries, where budget and mid-range phones are more common.
According to Mashable Samsung is trialling the service first in India, where it is currently making negotiations with payment providers. If it is successful, it will likely be adopted on a global scale.