Mobile payments have come a long way since Apple made a huge push into the space with Apple Pay in 2014. Google introduced Android Pay last year, and Samsung has joined the fray with its own mobile payment system called Samsung Pay. Here’s what you need to know about Samsung Pay.
What can you do with Samsung Pay?
Samsung Pay isn’t just for typical transactions at your local grocery store or pharmacy. The Korean company is now implementing a “Pay It Forward” program for users that refer the service to family and friends. Samsung also continues to add new forms of payment, including everything from online payments and gift cards to taking cash out at ATMs. Of course, some of these features are only available in select countries.
Pay It Forward
Samsung wants to reward its customers that use its payment service over rivals such as Android Pay, and it’s doing so with the High Five Referral Rewards program. Every time someone you referred makes their first “qualifying purchase,” you’ll earn $5 in Samsung Rewards, which is automatically deposited in the Samsung Pay app, the same way rewards cards are added.
It only applies for 30 people that you refer, meaning you’ll only be able to make $150. Still, you’ll be able to use this money at any merchant that accepts Visa debit and Samsung Pay.
“We believe that anyone who tries Samsung Pay will see the benefits for themselves. That’s why we’re encouraging our users to join us, and help pay it forward,” the company said.
The company says 85 percent of Samsung Pay users say they would recommend it to friends and family, according to its own customer survey.
Membership and loyalty cards
As of mid-May 2016, you can now add all your membership and loyalty card accounts to Samsung Pay. Adding a card is as easy as scanning the bar code on the physical card itself or manually entering the account number.
All cards added will show up in a separate tab. Unfortunately, there is no search function, and cards appear in the order they were entered, not in alphabetical order. However, you can reorder the list by long pressing and dragging accounts.
Sadly, American ATMs aren’t high-tech enough yet to work with Samsung Pay, but in South Korea, you can use the service at select ATMs to take out cash. At the moment, only Samsung users who have accounts at the following banks can use the service, according to the Korea IT Times: Woori Bank, KB Kookmin Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea, NH Nonghyup Bank, and Shinhan Bank.
The Times stated that Samsung pay works at 40,000 ATMs in the country, and Samsung has plans to bring its service to more ATMs in the future. You can even watch a transaction occur in the CNet video above.
Samsung’s Thomas Ko, co-general manager for Samsung Pay, has said the mobile payment service will be updated to cover online payments in the U.S. in 2016. In an interview with Reuters in December 2015, Ko said online Samsung Pay payments were coming to the U.S. soon, but didn’t provide an exact date outside of 2016, or mention any other countries expected to receive the new feature. Apple Pay operates online through supporting apps, while PayPal and Visa provide a more widespread online payment system already.
In October 2015, through a partnership with Blackhawk Network, a pioneer of prepaid gift cards, Samsung announced gift card support for Samsung Pay from 50 retailers including Babies R Us, Toys R Us, Domino’s, and Nike. The app also features a gift card store that allows users to buy gift cards from merchants either for themselves (which seems odd) or to be gifted to friends and family directly from the app. It’s a neat addition that certainly removes the need to carry multiple cards. In a nutshell, Samsung Pay allows you to purchase, store, pay with, and share gift cards.
Paying with a gift card doesn’t utilize the MST technology that paying with credit or debit cards uses. Instead, as with Apple Pay or Android Pay, it provides a code that retailers can scan or type in. The company indicated that more gift card options will be added in the coming months.
A new Featured area was added to Samsung Pay in mid-May 2016. It’s basically a rolling banner at the top of the app. Samsung will use this area for promotions or information on how to get more out of Samsung Pay.