The availability of mobile payment services continues its slow march forward thanks to new movement from Apple and Samsung. Both companies are targeting expansions of their phone-based purchasing programs by pushing them into new markets.
Apple launched Apple Pay in Canada on Tuesday, and plans to launch in Australia on Thursday. Apple Pay is already available in the US and the UK. The Canadian and Australian launches are welcome, but limited.
To start, American Express is the only payment network supporting Apple Pay out of the gate in both countries. Without MasterCard and Visa, Apple Pay will struggle to gain a toehold with Canadian and Australian consumers. American Express runs one of the only wireless payment services in Canada, which is one reason behind the muted launch. Moreover, the number of retail establishments accepting Apple Pay is limited to a few brands, such as Apple, McDonald's, Indigo, Petro Canada, Staples, Tim Hortons.
Apple hasn't said how quickly it expects to score support from MasterCard, Visa, and additional retailers in either country, but Apple announced plans for similar expansions with American Express to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain next year.
In the UK, Apple has added several new banks to Apple Pay's roster of financial institutions, including Tesco Bank and TSB. About 100 US banks and financial institutions have recently joined the ranks of Bank of America and Wells Fargo and added support for Apple Pay recently, including H&R Block.
Apple has done well landing support from banks. Apple Pay's biggest limitation remains its scattered retail footprint. Apple claims Apple Pay is available at more than 1 million retail locations, and more are on the way. Still, Apple needs to win over more national outlets, such as Walmart.
Samsung, too, has plans to move into a handful of new markets. Samsung Pay launched first in South Korea, and later in the US. Samsung Pay is different from Apple Pay (and Android Pay) in that it uses both NFC and MST technology, which makes it compatible with a much wider selection of retail terminals. Even so, Samsung Pay is off to a slow start thanks to a lack of support from national banks such as JPMorgan Chase.
Samsung is targeting a first quarter launch in China, Spain, and the UK, according to Sammobile. The company has not yet publicly named any bank or retail partners in those markets. Samsung Pay is available on Samsung's more expensive devices -- the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, and Note 5.
Google's Android Pay is trailing both Apple Pay and Samsung Pay at the moment. Google has been rather quiet about its mobile payment service since it launched several months ago.
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