Update March 22: Samsung Pay is now officially launched in India.
The Korean firm had teased its entry to India’s payments market last month, but now it has rolled out with support for banks Axis, HDFC, ICICI, SBI, and Standard Chartered, and credit and debit cards from MasterCard and Visa. Beyond traditional financial organizations, Samsung has also teamed up with Paytm — India’s largest mobile wallet with 200 million registered users — to add support for its digital payment service. That’s a particularly important given how the government’s demonitization program last year has accelerated the rise of digital cash.
The real limitation at this point is device support, with Sam Mobile reporting that the service is available on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7.
Still, the launch is a step beyond Apple, which has not yet released its Apple Pay service in India. Speaking on a visit to the country last year, CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone maker intends to bring Apple Pay to India but for now it seems that other countries in Asia have taken priority. In an interview with TechCrunch one year ago, Apple Pay VP Jennifer Bailey said the U.S. firm was working to expand the payment service’s footprint in Asia and beyond. Since then, the service has rolled out in Hong Kong, France, Singapore and Japan among others.
This India launch takes Samsung Pay to a total of 13 countries, including China, the U.S. and Korea.