Price (RRP): $free with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone or watch
Samsung Pay is as simple as using your Samsung Galaxy S, Note or Watch to make PayWave or MST payments anywhere.
Samsung Pay (website here) is exclusively for Samsung owners – and there are an awful lot of those in Australia. After all, it is the largest smartphone maker in the world by far, and its integrity is without question. Samsung Pay is its mobile wallet.
What is a mobile payment system – mobile wallet?
There are many ‘mobile wallet’ apps, but only three have a reasonable suite of banks, cards and services in Australia – Samsung Pay, Google Pay and Apple Pay.
Then there are peer-to-peer payment systems like Beem It (backed by the Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac) for small real-time payments to other Beem It users.
Each payment system, like the banks and credit cards, retains a small percentage of the transaction that is part of the overall merchant fee charged to the seller.
Other than that the credit or debit card/s you link to your mobile payment system guarantee payment. If you pay your credit card bills on time, then Samsung Pay costs nothing unless the merchant adds a fee for payment by credit card.
Some mobile payment systems allow for money transfers subject to the normal currency limits.
Privacy or risk issues?
Many wallet operators know when and where you made a purchase but generally not the granular data of what you bought. It is the same information that banks and credit card companies – Visa, MasterCard or Amex have!
The question is not so much what they all know but how they use the data. For example, Google is the ‘Master of Marketing’ and can see you buying a coffee every day. Another nearby coffee shop could ask Google to send you advertisements and special offers to entice you to move over.
Samsung does it differently. Samsung Pay doesn’t know where a Samsung Pay user has purchased, what product, or the product or price. Because payment transactions are tokenised, all the information is encrypted. And, Samsung does not sell pay data to third-parties so it is way more private.
On the whole, privacy regulations cover the big three apps – Samsung, Google and Apple – and the banks and credit/debit card merchants. Their security is so high that if they got hacked – heaven help us all.
As Samsung Pay resides in a Samsung phone or watch, protection involves a combination of factors.
First, if you use Samsung Pay the phone lock screen must have a pin, swipe, fingerprint or facial recognition to unlock it.
Second, the app needs a similar identification to use it.
Third, it uses a one-time token instead of your actual credit or debit card number. The device does not store card numbers.
And if you use Samsung’s ‘Find My Mobile’ service, you can remotely lock your phone and delete payment cards stored the Samsung Pay app.
Think of Samsung Pay as your digital credit card – but it is a lot more
GadgetGuy has been using Google Pay for some time, and it is an excellent mobile wallet. But the fact that Samsung Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Active, Gear Sport/S3/S2 support Samsung Pay adds a level of convenience not in Google Pay.
So if you have a Samsung Galaxy Phone and/or Watch (list here under Compatibility), it’s a no brainer to go this way.
You need to bank with a Samsung Pay banking partner. It has a huge range of over 50 banking partners and credit unions. So, you can use most branded credit or debit cards issued by these partners.
Setting up Samsung Pay
Download the App from Google Play. During setup it will ensure you secure your lock screen and if the phone supports it adds iris identification (fool-proof and protected by Samsung Knox security) as well as a pin, pattern, and/or fingerprint.
Adding a credit, debit or stored value (pre-paid card) card is as simple as using the rear camera to gather the number and expiry date. Even well-worn cards with the silver lettering rubbed off are identified. Next, add the CVC number and the card is almost ready to use.
I added a Visa from the National and the app told me to ring the 13 number (provided on screen) to activate the card for Samsung mobile payments. As I had done this before for Google Pay, I appreciate that it adds
Similarly, the Galaxy Watch uses the Gear App and because it is a separate app to the mobile phone (so it can work independently) another call to the NAB activated the card for that device. Both the watch and the phone can make payments independently, even if there is no internet connection.
Using Samsung Pay
The majority of payment terminals (and NSW Opal card transport readers) use NFC (near field communications) PayWave.
You activate the app by swiping up from the bottom of the lock screen, select the card you want to use (you can have multiple
It works with the typical credit card machines, the big Commonwealth Bank machines, and interestingly the little ‘Square’ readers.
Some card readers require a swipe known as Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST). I tried an MST reader and payment was flawless.
The only readers it will not work in are those that require the card to put into a slot lik an ATM.
In some countries, it supports 3D barcodes (popular in China) and SMS payments.
Loyalty Cards and more
Simply place loyalty cards with an NFC sim on the back of the phone. If they only have a barcode you can add them via the camera and if they have a number only then via the camera and manually.
We tried with non-sim Flybuys and Woolworths loyalty cards and these were fine by photographing the front and back.
Other branded loyalty cards depend on recognition by the app. For example, most of the airline cards, franchise retail cards (BCF, Anaconda etc), cinemas, some health providers, hotels, NRMA/RACQ/etc and franchise food outlets are fine.
You can add any card, not on the list, but it will not emulate the MST or NFC functions. This may be handy to store other ID, membership, and drivers’ licence but note that digital drivers licences are not acceptable ID at present.
Transport, vouchers and promotions
You can use Samsung pay at NSW Opal Card readers but you need to know the full fare conditions and limitations. Read our article here.
Promotions are where Samsung Partners can send you special offers. For example, I can get two Koala pillows when I buy a Koala mattress (and I though Koala’s were protected species).
Vouchers are pre-paid cards. I did try to enter a Digital CabCharge voucher, but it would only work with Apple Pay and Google Pay. Vouchers show your previous five transactions on that card but not the balance.
And you can generally use it to pay online from a smart phone browser, app or from an NFC linked computer too.
At first, I thought it was easier to whip out my wallet and fumble through the cards. That is muscle memory and it is pretty easy to change your habit to
When you use Samsung Pay, it is as simple as a swipe up to open the app, verify your ID, select a card and pay. Plus, it keeps a current list of payments on the phone.
And now with the Galaxy Watch, purchases are even easier – press a button, enter a pin, pay. It limits this to a maximum of five offline transactions before you need to access the internet and it resets.
Oh, one tip. Add a debit card too if you want to get cash out with your grocery shop.
Samsung Pay is also available in most countries.
GadgetGuy’s take: Samsung Pay and mobile wallets are the future.
Apart from severely reducing the thickness of your wallet by removing most cards, it is more convenient. Even if you lose the phone, no one else can access the wallet without your iris, pin or fingerprint. You can import the information to your new Samsung phone as well.
I have not been using it long enough to see if I get a plethora of offers or advertisements. I suspect Samsung will be sensitive in that regard and I can turn offers off in the settings.
After my wife saw how easy it was to spend money (as if she needed any encouragement), she has set up her Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy Active smartwatch for Samsung pay. The combination is perfect as she does not have to take a purse to the gym (the watch is a payment device) nor to pick up a coffee or groceries on the way home.
I suspect there is a long way that Samsung can go with its app. Things like a travel expense diary, tax deductions versus private payments, peer-to-peer payments – this is just the start. Oh, and the rumour of a crypto wallet coming is true, so add