Samsung Pay has finally made it to British shores, here’s the complete guide to everything you need to know about this revolutionary new app.
The service is Samsung’s foray into the smart pay market, following in the footsteps of Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay.
The app works just like a contactless credit/debit card, and allows users to make secure payments using a mobile phone – provided it’s a Samsung model, of course.
Samsung Pay has been available in the UK since May 2017, a year after Google unveiled Android Pay, but far from being a Johnny-come-lately, Samsung has been paying close attention.
As a result, the app boasts a handful of nifty features its rivals do not, and could give them a run for their money.
So, without further ado, let’s have a look at what Samsung Pay has to offer.
How does it work?
Samsung Pay is a payment app for Samsung mobiles, which allows you to make secure payments much like a contactless credit or debit card.
It works like any other mobile payment app, and uses near-field communication technology (NFC) to carry out transactions, and thanks to its security features, you are protected at each step.
The app allows you make purchases almost anywhere contactless card payments are accepted. The app lets you add multiple cards, so there’s no need to rifle through your pockets looking for the right one. It also has other features we’ll look at later on.
Once installed on your compatible Samsung smartphone, you can use it in shops, restaurants, cafes etc. in exactly the same way as a contactless card. Simply present your phone at the till, open the app and select which card you want to use, then hold it up to the terminal and voila.
Some retailers may impose a limit up to £30 for purchases, as per store policy, so it’s wise to check before you try to splash out on that Faberge egg or mink cardigan.
Transactions are safe and secure, and are covered by your bank’s fraud protection. Fingerprint, PIN or iris scan authentication is required for payments. In the event your phone is lost or stolen, you can remotely lock or delete your Samsung Pay account with Samsung’s Find My Mobile service.
Tokenisation (encryption) adds a final layer of security, creating a randomised unique number for every transaction, so your actual card number is never available from your phone. Samsung also monitors your phone 24/7, with its Knox service providing constant protection for your device.
Great, where can I get it?
Samsung Pay can be downloaded from the Samsung Galaxy app store or Google Play. When it’s installed on your phone, sign into your Samsung account (or create one).
The next step is to set up the security features using an iris scan or your fingerprint. If that seems a bit Bladerunner to you, you can enter a PIN. This will allow you to authenticate future purchases and ensure only you have access to the app.
Next, it’s time to add your card details, by simply taking a photo of your credit or debit card and providing your signature (where necessary), and that’s it, you’re good to go. Just swipe up on the app and select the card you want to use. All that’s left to do is find a participating outlet and get spending.
Where can I use it?
Samsung Pay can be used almost anywhere contactless cards are accepted, including thousands of shops, restaurants and public spaces around the UK.
More importantly, it is also integrated with London transport, thanks to an agreement between Samsung and TfL.
The app can be set up to work just like an Oyster Card in the capital. That means you can use your phone to pay for travel not just on the tube, but on London Buses, trams, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line, River Bus and most National Rail services in London. Phew!
What’s more, you don’t even need to wake your phone to use it, all you have to do is present your phone to the card reader.
Be warned, however, your phone must be switched on and have enough battery power to make it to the end of your journey, without it, you may be charged maximum fare. Similarly, if you’re unable to present your phone to a ticket inspector, you could also risk a fine of up to £1000, so always be sure to check before you travel.
Will it work on my device?
Samsung Pay is only compatible with Samsung devices. It can be downloaded through Samsung’s website or with your Google Play Store account.
Samsung Pay is compatible with current-gen Samsung smartphones using the Android Nougat 7.0 operating system, including Galaxy S8, S8+, S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+. The app will also work on A3 and A5 2017 models.
There are also plans to bring Samsung Pay to smartwatches and other devices ‘in coming months’.
iPhone users may have to console themselves with Apple Pay for the time being – Samsung has previously tried to sell the app through the iStore, which Apple understandably rejected.
Unfortunately for Samsung, this leaves them at something of a disadvantage, as rival mobile payment apps, such as Android Pay, are much more widely available.
What about my bank?
Not all banks and cards are supported by Samsung Pay, although this is likely to change in the near future.
At present, customers of HSBC, Nationwide, Santander, MBNA, and M&S Bank with a Visa or Mastercard are eligible to use Samsung Pay.
Again, Samsung’s competitors may have the upper-hand here, as Android Pay and Apple Pay are recognised by a greater number of card providers. The company promises that ‘more are on the way’ though, including First Direct and American Express, so watch this space.
In the meantime, if you’re one of the chosen few, why not install the app and see what it’s capable of (after you’ve read this guide of course).
What else can it do?
In addition to being a surrogate Oyster Card, one of Samsung Pay’s unique features is that it doubles as a loyalty card. Users can upload the details from, say, a Nectar card and use it at the till when making a payment. There’s no need to swipe it afterwards, it’s already taken care of.
Simply take a snapshot of the front and back of the card, like you would with a credit or debit card, enter the details, and you’re done.
Samsung also have a range of special offers wherever Samsung Pay is available, check the app to see what’s going.
Anything else I need to know?
The UK version of the app is missing one feature available elsewhere. Samsung LoopPay, works as a secondary payment method by emulating a mag strip, the black stripe on the back of a standard card.
Magnetic Secure Transmission technology (MST) tricks the terminal into thinking a card has been swiped, when in fact it’s a signal from a smartphone.
Although Samsung seamlessly integrated this feature into the US version of the app, swiping a card is much less common in the UK, which was reflected in Samsung’s decision to omit this feature. The company has said it’s looking into ways to implement it at a later date in conjunction with loyalty cards.
So there you have it, the complete guide to Samsung Pay. If you have the right kind of phone, right card and at least one fingertip, why not give it a try and discover these great features for yourself.