Samsung Pay wants to replace your wallet. Your bank cards, membership cards, loyalty cards, and even — in the future — your Opal card.
Already available in Korea, the US, China and Spain, now Australians with a Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+ or Galaxy Note 5 can access the service, with Citibank and American Express the first partners on board.
Amex is also offering a launch offer — spend $5 three times before 14 September, and you’ll receive $15 credit.
Samsung started on its integrated payment system offering for Australia in April 2014, with the launch of Tap and Pay. The latest evolution is continuation of “services with a technology edge,” said Ellie Kim, Vice President Samsung Pay at the launch event today.
The Samsung Pay app was created with three core features in mind: simplicity, security and portability.
The “simple” part is covered with the ease of use, and the end goal to replace your wallet entirely.
You install the app and upload you cards. Then to use them, swipe up on the screen to choose the right one, authenticate it, and tap.
You can use the contactless NFC function, a barcode scan or the magnetic stripe on an EFTPOS machine. This increases the portability of the service, especially into countries that don’t yet support contactless payments.
“It’s like if you have a card in your pocket — you take it out and tap, we wanted to emulate that,” Kim said.
In terms of security the advantage Samsung has, says Kim, is that it can be integrated into the hardware.
“Our security is built on our Knox platform, a multi level security platform built into hardware, recommended by 26 government security agencies,” Kim says.
“Basically it’s like a fuse built into the phone. If someone tries to jailbreak it, it goes off.”
The information utilised by Samsung Pay is tokenised with the actual card info not transferred or stored. There is also fingerprint authentication, and if you lose your phone you can go online to wipe your info.
Innovation is also a major focus. “If all we do is tap, most people will just think their card is better,” Kim said. “How do we innovate and bring more features to consumers?”
As well as regular payments, and the integration of loyalty and membership cards with automatic points addition and redemption (think gyms, coffee shops, frequent flyer cards) the service offers giftcards with over 200 stores. You can pay in the app, then send it to anyone via email.
“There’s not only value on the merchant side, with no physical gift card production but it’s also a great promotional tool,” Kim said. “Use Samsung Pay 10 times, get a gift card. That sort of thing.”
One option also raised is transit, with Korea already using Samsung Pay to catch public transport. Samsung is currently “working through security aspects with authorities, and then need to do some trials.”
In the first six months of launch in overseas markets, Samsung Pay saw five million registered users and $500 million. Korea just surpassed $1 billion in spend via the service.
It will be launching in Singapore tomorrow, with UK, Canada and Brazil launching later in the year.
In terms of when other banks will be on board, Samsung says “We are working very hard to integrate other partners experiences and compliment. It will take a little bit more time.”