After recently discontinuing the Samsung Wallet, Samsung prepared themselves for the introduction of their new app, Samsung Pay. This app is a leader in the mobile wallet industry for several reasons. The number of locations at which the app may be used to make payments far exceeds that of any other mobile app, since the app is compatible with both near field communications and magnetic secure transmission point of sale terminals - which comprise the vast majority of the existing terminals. Adding to the company’s benefit is the government-mandated program (October, 2015) that all terminals in the US must be upgraded.
The Review Team recommends Samsung Pay as a solid choice in the mobile wallet industry.
- NFC and MST Compatibility
- Payment Process
- Financial and Credit Card Partnerships
- High-quality Security
- Gift Cards
Samsung Pay has been anticipated by many for several months, and the product has not disappointed. Some of the notable features which are included with Samsung Pay are:
NFC and MST Compatibility
Samsung Pay is different than their competition because the app can be used at any point-of-sale terminal which is compatible with Near Field Transmission (NFT) or Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST). This means that Samsung Pay can be used at any contactless POS terminal. MST is the proprietary technology which was developed by LoopPay, recently acquired by Samsung which can be used at over 90% of U.S. merchants. In order to be compatible with MST, merchants must have magnetic stripe readers in their POS terminals.
Being able to pay at NFC and MST terminals allows users of this app to theoretically have access to the largest amount of stores compared to any other mobile wallet in the industry. Samsung launched in their home country - South Korea and the US first, expanding to Europe and China at a later time. This international acceptance will eclipse that which is available in any of the other leading mobile wallet apps.
In addition to being compatible with the vast majority of POS terminals in stores, Samsung Pay can also be used with mobile card readers like Square without sharing any financial information during the transaction.
The process for completing a transaction is quite similar to that which is used by Apple Pay, with the exception of an additional step for Samsung Pay users. When making a purchase, users begin by opening the Samsung Pay app by swiping up from the home button. Next, they will need to select a registered card which they want to use for the transaction from those which the user has entered into the app. Before a payment can complete the payment, they are required to use a fingerprint scanner which is part of the app. To do so is straightforward and there are simple animations directing the user the steps which are needed. After the fingerprint is scanned, the device transmits an encrypted token from the selected account. If the payment is approved (based upon fund availability), the transaction is processed in a few seconds. A confirmation is then sent to the app for the user's records.
Financial and Credit Card Partnerships
Samsung Pay is compatible with the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, and American Express cards which are issued by most major financial institutions. It is important to note that not all cards issued are compatible, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
Privacy and security are solid in the Samsung Pay app. Personal account numbers are not stored on the device and are stored on Samsung's secure servers. Additional security features include tokenization, meaning that user's private card information is never shared with the payment system that they are using. Instead, an encrypted number identifying the selected account will be used to protect their privacy. Samsung Pay uses its own mobile security platform called Samsung KNOX and ARM TrustZone. If users lose their phone, Samsung offers a "Find My Mobile" solution to help users find, lock, and even wipe their device remotely in the event of theft or loss.
Users are able to purchase numerous gift cards from the Samsung Pay app. Some of the more popular gift cards which are compatible with Samsung Pay include:
- Babies "R" Us/Toys "R" Us
- Baby Gap/Gap/Gap Options
- Barnes & Noble
- Office Max
- Old Navy
- Panda Express
- Southwest Airlines
- Whole Foods Market
- Complete list
The Bottom Line
There are many reasons which Samsung Pay is highly recommended by the Review Team. The app is available at far more merchants than their competitors, highly secure and is integrated with most major US banks. Adding to the positive features of Samsung Pay is the upcoming world-wide capability. For those looking to upgrade their phones, the Review Team suggests looking at some of the models which are currently available with Samsung Pay as they shop to see if one of the compatible models works with their carrier and budget. Samsung Pay allows users to be one step closer to a fully digital wallet.