Samsung Pay now works in subways and on buses

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Samsung Pay now works in subways and on buses

Starting yesterday, subscribers to the Samsung Pay mobile payment system were able to board a bus or take the subway by simply placing their smartphones on card readers.

Millions of commuters are expected to be saved the embarrassment of holding up lines during rush hours in search of plastic cards buried deep inside pockets, purses or stubbornly stuck in a wallet.

According to Samsung Electronics on Tuesday, the service was launched the same day it was announced.

To make use of the service, people must have an Android phone and be registered for Samsung Pay. Then, you add T-money or Cashbee functions already registered on credit or debit cards. Once those functions are registered with Samsung Pay, users don’t have to download a separate app - or even access the app when boarding public transportation. All they need to do is take out their smartphone and place it on the card reader, and the public transportation fee will automatically be paid.

Currently, Samsung Card and KB Card are the only two cards that can use the T-money service through Samsung Pay, while for Cashbee, only Lotte Card works. But Samsung Electronics plans to expand its services to other cards.

In a press release, Samsung Electronics said that by adding the public transportation feature to its mobile payment service, it has further enhanced its convenience and reduced the number of cards people have to physically haul around.

“We plan on expanding the convenience of a lifestyle in which consumers can make payments without having to carry a wallet or a purse by expanding our cooperation with different partners,” a Samsung Electronics official said.

It’s only been nearly four months since the mobile payment service was introduced on Aug. 20. However, its use and influence in the financial market has been growing at a faster rate than anticipated.

In just two months since the service launched, the number of subscribers reached one million, according to Samsung Electronics. Payments have surged at a higher rate. Through the end of October, the accumulated payments made through the mobile service amounted to 100 billion won ($85 million). Roughly a month later, that figure grew to 250 billion won.

Samsung Pay has become one of the key growth engines for the world’s No. 1 smartphone manufacturer.

Samsung launched its service in the United States in late September to great reviews. It is considered to have a greater distribution than rival Apple Pay. Samsung Pay not only works on near field communication (NFC) systems but also on the more commonly used magnetic secure transmission system.

Apple’s mobile payment service only works on NFC systems.

Samsung Pay can be used in 85 percent of stores, about 30 million, in the United States, according to Hyundai Securities.

“Samsung Pay will be able to secure 10 million to 15 million subscribers within a year,” Kim Dong-won, a Hyundai Securities analyst, said in a report released in October. “That’s an average of 800,000 to 1.2 million a month.”

As of June, Apple had secured 3.5 million subscribers, or an average of 400,000 a month.

Samsung plans to provide its services to other countries, including China, Spain and the United Kingdom in the first quarter of 2016.

With the success of Samsung Pay, local rival LG Electronics is also launching its mobile payment service, LG Pay. The company last month signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Shinhan Card and KB Card. LG Pay is expected to launch in January.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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