Better late than never – Samsung Pay hits UK

By Oliver Smith 18 May 2017
Image: Getty/Tinatin1.

A tale of woe.

Oh Samsung.

Things looked so promising back in 2015 when the smartphone giant revealed its Samsung Pay plan to “reinvent how people pay for goods and services”.

Paying with your smartphone, how novel!

Apple had introduced its own Apple Pay six months earlier and Google’s Android Pay would arrive just a few months later – but 2015 was peak mobile payments.

A vision of a future in which we’d all ditch bank cards and use our smartphones to buy stuff.

Well, that future is here. Right now.

Living in the future

In 2017 I spot mobile payments being used on a daily basis.

A colleague of mine only uses her smartphone to pay for things – with a bank card at the bottom of her bag in case of emergencies.

More than 8% of Transport for London trips – of which there are 31m a day – are paid for using mobile.

But as we live in this glorious future, Samsung is nowhere to be seen.


Back in the heady days of 2015 Samsung Pay swiftly launched in South Korea and the US with the assumption (nay, even a tacit suggestion) that a UK arrival was imminent.

But 2015 soon became 2016 and Samsung once again pledged a UK launch, a promise it swiftly broke.

Today, finally, two years after Samsung first revealed its payment plan, Samsung Pay is actually here.

Kind of.

A woeful tale

Yes, after two years it’s not exactly the glorious launch you might be expecting.

Samsung Pay is only available to customers of Santander, Nationwide and MBNA; not exactly the blossoming ‘partnership ecosystem’ that Samsung executives were hoping for.

There are reports that HSBC, First Direct, M&S Bank and American Express might join the Samsung Pay party… soon.

This might all be very exciting for patient owners of Samsung’s phones – who’ve jealously watched their iPhone-touting friends paying by smartphone for more than two years – that’s if they haven’t already downloaded and been paying with Android Pay on their Galaxy S6, S7 or S8.

Better late than never Samsung.