Samsung Pay became available in the UK in May 2017, and can be downloaded from the Galaxy Apps Store on your compatible Samsung phone or tablet. That includes the new Galaxy S8, Galaxy 8 Plus and Galaxy Note 8. The list of supported banks is growing all the time, and now Starling Bank customers can use Samsung Pay too.

As of the 6th of March 2018, Samsung has announced a partnership with Contis, a banking solutions provider for the UK and Europe. Contis will be integrating Samsing Pay into their services, granting it access to over 150 Credit Unions across the UK. This is a major step forward and a vote of confidence for Samsung Pay as it moves forward into the financial sector.

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 company's Bixby AI assistant.

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 was the Samsung Pay UK release date?

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.

Where can you use Samsung Pay in the UK?

Samsung Pay is supported almost anywhere you might use a credit or debit card. The service is supported by Mastercard and Visa, as well as cards issued by the following banks:

  • First Direct
  • HSBC
  • M&S Bank
  • MBNA
  • Nationwide
  • Santander
  • Co-operative Bank
  • American Express
  • John Lewis & Waitrose
  • Starling Bank

The company also has an arrangement with TfL that allows Samsung Pay users to set a payment card as a ‘transport card’ to use on all TfL services and most National Rail services in London. They can simply tap their phone against the card reader, without needing to wake it or verify the transaction.

Which phones are compatible with Samsung Pay?

Right now Samsung Pay is available on the company's high-end smartphones, which include the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, S8 and S8 Plus, S7 and S7 edge, S6, S6 edge and S6 edge+, and Galaxy Note 8.

Mid-range phones such as the Galaxy A3, A5 and A8, and Galaxy J5, are also supported, as is the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch when paired with a compatible smartphone.

The company is reportedly planning to roll out the service to other phones lower down its range. This previously might have been problematic, due to the need for a fingerprint or iris scanner to authorise payments, but you can now alternatively use a registered passcode.