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Overall Score

LAST UPDATED: July 14th, 2023

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.

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The Good

  • 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.

Payment Process

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.

High-quality Security

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.

Gift Cards

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
  • Dominos
  • eBay
  • GameStop
  • Gymboree
  • Nike
  • Office Max
  • Old Navy
  • Panda Express
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Staples
  • 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.
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James La Crescenta, CA

Samsung Pay is a useful app for protecting your credit card id from fraud. However the points you get from it are virtually useless. They keep expiring and being devalued unless you use them which prevents you from accruing enough for any valuable items. If you want higher value items, you need to purchase additional points and then redeem for a discount code. But these codes only apply to full price and will not work with any other discounts. I recently purchased and redeemed points towards a discount code on an S10 and found that it is now worthless and Samsung will not stand behind anything. Their call center employees are not given any power to correct issues. So you can ONLY use points for dinky little discount codes to other more reputable companies rather than Samsung products and then the discount isn't worth the hassle. Treat the points as worthless and only bother using the app when its convenient.

4 years ago

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I am using Samsung Pay from more than a year. The app works great and can be used almost everywhere (wherever NFC payment and Samsung pay is accepted). However, their earn cash back program is bogus and the customer care is hopeless. They have a tie-up with too many stores for cash back rewards, however a lot of times cash back either don't come or come partially. If you try to reach their customer care - they try to help but they have no capability. I had called them so many times in 14 different days, however, every time they just said your issue is escalated but we are waiting for the feedback from store/case resolving team. Matter of fact I had not even received a single email from them, every time they just said we will tell your 'case assigned agent' to send you an email. Finally, I just gave up. Hopefully, they will learn to care about their customers and will deliver what they promote through the app.

5 years ago

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WAYNE KING Chesterfield, VA

The app works great most of the time and cashiers are amazed to see it work when they tell me "it won't work on our system". However there is a problem when using gift cards. The app will show a zero balance when you know that's wrong. Keep your receipts because I called to address this problem and they acted like they didn't care. I was told to use my email receipt on a card I deleted because it showed a zero balance and they acted like it wasn't their problem. So, I will look for another app that will do a better job. Samsung, you will not be recommended by me anymore since you don't care about problems that exist and you don't inform us.

5 years ago

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Syreeta Baker

very conveinent but they play too many technical games when trying to claim their promotions. burned twice- switching to android pay or a different app. #1...denied new customer reward..followed all steps #2....denied Chase reward. I made sure to i read everything this time. .made all 3 transactions, received congratulations email. went to claim and it dissappeared, kept checking app w/o luck. called CS next day and they denied me bc i didnt call day before with technical difficulties. hun?

7 years ago

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Rick Clermont, FL

The promotions that Samsung offers (i.e. use card there time and receive $5) very difficult to receive. Tried twice, after second time called customer service. Customer service started, these promotions are in very limited supply. Basically, read the fine print.

7 years ago