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Hello fellow Ask Lucky crew! Hope you’ll indulge me with a semi-detailed review of Samsung Pay. Don’t worry, there is a shameless plug for a referral credit at the end, too 😎
Probably similar to many people on this forum, I work for a company that, up until a month ago, had a very generous business expense policy, where employees could earn rewards for all credit card transactions. With the exception of flights that had to be booked through an agency, all hotels, meals and other eligible expenses could be paid for with a personal credit card and submitted for reimbursement.
Our policy changed late last year, and mandated the use of a corporate credit card. Needless to say, it was like getting punched in the gut. We next learned that that corporate card would no longer be eligible to earn rewards (AMEX instead gives the rebates back to the company). Kicking us while we were already down o_O
So, as any points and miles fan would do, I researched any possible way of still finding some return on my business expenses. Enter, Samsung Pay. I actually found many tech reviews of Samsung Pay, but I found very few points/Boarding Area type-reviews. So, on a long flight home from Europe a couple weeks ago, I put pen to paper, and here we go:
[B][U]What is Samsung Pay?[/U][/B]
Samsung Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service. Users are allowed to make payments with their credit card using their compatible Samsung device.
[B][U]Where can I use Samsung Pay?[/U][/B]
At any business where a credit card is swiped! Essentially, any merchant that allows you to swipe your credit card at a terminal in front of you (rather than the clerk taking your card and swiping for you). Now that I’m more conscious of it, I’ve found them everywhere from Starbucks, Panera, grocery stores, gas stations (inside), convenience stores, department stores.
I’m no tech expert, but some quick research reveals that Samsung Pay uses NFC (near field communications) and MST (magnetic secure transmissions). Therefore, any merchant that accepts magnetic swiping can also accept Samsung Pay. Other mobile payment services like Apple Pay are currently limited to only NFC.
[U][B]Can I still earn normal rewards?[/B][/U]
Yes. The merchant still processes your transaction same as before. For instance, using Samsung Pay with your Discover or Chase Freedom card at a gas station this quarter, would still be eligible to earn any bonuses.
[U][B]What are the rewards like?[/B][/U]
This is where it’s not so great. You earn points on any transaction, capped at 50 transactions per month. You earn per transaction, [I]NOT [/I]based on the dollar spent. That $2 coffee earns the same as that $100 grocery bill.
Depending on how often you use Samsung Pay, you can progress through their tiers. Top tier Platinum status earns 40 points per transaction. So, a Platinum member using Samsung Pay the maximum 50 times per month would net you 2,000 points.
Personally, I signed up right before Christmas and am just shy of 3,000 points.
[B][U]What can I redeem for?[/U][/B]
Right now, points can only be redeemed for gift cards which are then loaded back into your Samsung Pay wallet. 5,000 points will typically get you $20-$25 in a rewards gift card.
[B][U]Do stores know what you are doing?[/U][/B]
Negative. Most cashiers I’ve interacted are very confused. Some think I am busy texting instead of paying. Some think I am trying to pull up a frequent shopper card. Most just look surprised when the register beeps that the transaction is complete. But, then again, haven’t we all gotten odd stares from cashiers trying to buy 5 gift cards from Office Depot?
Is Samsung Pay going to let me redeem points for a vacation? Nope. Is Samsung Pay going to help reduce my out of pocket costs on a honeymoon? No way. But, it does help soften the blow ever so slightly about not earning traditional rewards for everyday credit card spend.
If you are a Samsung user and haven’t signed up for Samsung Pay before, I do have a referral code, [B][I]E5E798[/I][/B]. I’d be grateful if you use it. Who knows, maybe if 1,000 people use my code, I could actually get another free flight. One day.
Thanks for reading.
Nice write up. I just wish the app was available for non-Samsung phones. I heard recently that they might be launching a more widely available version. Keeping my fingers crossed.