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Samsung Pay arrives in Europe, Spain is numero uno

Spain is the first country in Europe to get Samsung's contactless payment tech, following its arrival last year in South Korea and the US.

Samsung Pay has arrived in Spain, marking the service's European debut.

Like rival services Apple Pay and Android Pay -- the latter recently arrived in the UK -- Samsung Pay sees customers adding credit or debit cards to their phone, which can then be tapped on tills to make a contactless payment. Unlike those services, it can be used with older magnetic strip systems.

The first banks in Europe to get on board are CaixaBank and imaginBank, Samsung said, with Abanca and Banco Sabadell following shortly.

"The opportunity for Samsung Pay in Spain is significant, due to the high smartphone penetration rate and the digitalisation of the banking sector," said Celestino García, corporate vice president of Samsung Spain.

Samsung Pay launched in the US in September 2015. In February the company said it had 5 million registered Samsung Pay customers, and claimed a "strong" adoption rate in the US and South Korea.

"Samsung Pay will launch in the UK later this year," a company spokesman said in a statement.