Samsung has already said it will launch Samsung Pay in Singapore this year, but today it set a more definite timeline–sort of. The company announced that the service will be available in retail stores “as early as Q2 2016,” the day after rival Apple Pay rolled out in Singapore for the first time.
To be sure, Apple Pay is currently available only for American Express cardholders in Singapore, while Samsung Pay has been available as a payment method for bus and train fares since the end of March. Singapore is an important market, however, because it represents the first step into Southeast Asia for both services.
Samsung Pay’s partnership with American Express, MasterCard, and Visa, and major banks in Singapore–DBS/POSB, OCBC Bank, and Standard Chartered–means it should work at most retail stores that already take credit cards once it finishes rolling out. Apple Pay, of course, also plans to partner with many of the same institutions.
In its announcement, Samsung said that based on its own research, 71 percent of Samsung user “have indicated interest in using Samsung Pay once it becomes available.”
Success is still far from certain, however, for Samsung Pay (or Apple Pay, for that matter). Gartner research director Manjunath Bhat told the Straits Time last month that only 23 percent of Singaporean consumers are currently willing to use mobile payments and that when they do tap their smartphones at checkout, it is for small transactions.