Samsung Pay: Australian Hands-On

Samsung Pay launched in Australia last week, and while the service aims to eventually replace your entire wallet utilising NFC (contactless) and MST (magnetic strip) technologies — membership and loyalty cards included — our time with the service shows this might be some way off in the future.

First things first — Samsung Pay is really easy to set up and use, as long as you’ve got a Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy Note5, Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge. Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge will only support NFC technology, not MST.

You’ll need to have Marshmallow updated to download the app, then once you’re in you can scan your card to upload the major details and type in your CCV number to add it to the list of cards you can use. When you need to pay for something, you use your your fingerprint authentication or a pin to authorise it, then tap it as you would your card.

There’s also a launch offer from Amex, where if you spend $5 three times before 14 September, and you’ll receive $15 credit.

It does what it says on the box, at a basic level. The problem here is accessibility to promised features, and if they will ever eventuate.

Hurdle number one: Although there are negotiations underway, Citibank and American Express are the only partners to have signed up to the service so far. So unless you have a credit (not debit) card from one of these two providers, you’re fresh out of luck for using the service at this point in time.

Hurdle number two: The potential for this app is greater than what it can currently do. So while you can get excited about being able to use if for your gym membership card or coffee shop loyalty card, there aren’t any that have signed up to partner with Samsung Pay as yet.

Australia is the fifth country Samsung has introduced to Pay, and while Korea is leading the way with working on Pay replacing transit tap-and-go cards, discussions with Australian transport authorities have barely started.

If you’re with Citibank or American Express, it’s worth giving a go. But since everyone else has to wait until there are more partners on board, I think the best this app has to offer is yet to come.

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