Make purchases without having to take out a credit card with Samsung Pay, the most widely accepted form of mobile payments, as Samsung claims. Samsung Pay is a mobile wallet app that enables you to make purchases simply by placing your Samsung device on a near field communication (NFC) reader or payment terminal with magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology. You can also store card information through Samsung Pay to make online purchases and in-app purchases from your phone. If you want to know how to use Samsung Pay, keep reading our Samsung Pay guide.

How does Samsung Pay work?

Samsung Pay is a mobile wallet that works with Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) credit as well as debit cards issued by Samsung partner banks, plus membership cards and gift cards from Samsung partners. Samsung Pay supports more than 1,000 credit unions and banks, so if you have a card from a major bank, it probably works with Samsung Pay.

To add a card to Samsung Pay, scan the card using the phone’s camera or manually enter the information into the Samsung Pay app. From there, a digital version of the card is created and stored on the phone.

When you’re making a purchase in a store, you’ll open up the app and place the back of the Samsung device on an NFC reader. For card readers that aren’t contactless, you will place the phone near the swipe area of the card reader. Samsung phones have a magnetic coil inside which enables MST, so if you want to use Samsung Pay on a non-NFC device, it simulates a card swipe on the machine. To pay with Samsung Pay with a Samsung Galaxy Watch, long-press the device button and then click Pay when your card appears. For in-app and online purchases that have a Samsung Pay option at checkout, click the option, then authenticate the purchase using your iris scan, fingerprint or PIN.

You can purchase, send and receive gift cards directly from the Samsung Pay app. You can also store existing gift cards on Samsung Pay by scanning them or manually entering their information, so you don’t have to worry about losing them or carrying them around.

Where can I use Samsung Pay?

Thousands of stores in the U.S. and around the globe accept Samsung Pay in person and online. You can use Samsung Pay at any store that has NFC/contactless payment technology. You can also use it at point-of-sale machines that only have MST technology. That’s why Samsung notes that Samsung Pay is the most widely accepted form of mobile wallet available, as we mentioned above.

Just keep in mind that there may be non-NFC point-of-sale terminals that also don’t have MST technology. In those cases, you won’t be able to use Samsung Pay.

Pros of Samsung Pay

For those who don’t want to carry a bulky wallet full of cards when they go shopping, Samsung Pay offers an easy and convenient way to make purchases from a single device in mere seconds.

One of the big benefits of Samsung Pay is a program called Cash Back Awards. Various merchants will offer limited-time cash back deals when you purchase from them using Samsung Pay. Merchants in apparel, beauty, delivery, electronics, entertainment, grocery, health, home, sports and travel partner with Samsung Pay’s Cash Back Awards program. You can check the Samsung website or Samsung Pay app to see what deals are offered.

There’s also a Samsung Rewards program offered through Samsung Pay. As you make purchases using Samsung Pay, you earn points that can be redeemed toward purchases on Samsung.com as well as earn entries into drawings to win prizes. For purchases made on Samsung.com, you’ll earn up to 2% back in Rewards points. You can also earn a 1,000-point bonus when you link your Samsung Rewards account with Lyft.

When you combine the Cash Back Awards and the Samsung Rewards opportunities with cash back, points or travel miles you’ll earn with your credit card, you’ll really be making the most of all your Samsung Pay purchases.

In addition to the rewards you can earn with Samsung Pay, using Samsung Pay rather than a physical credit card or debit card provides an extra layer of security. Your card information is not stored in the app, and it is never transmitted with a transaction. Samsung Pay uses a process called tokenization for transactions, which is the process of creating a unique number to process a transaction.

Samsung also uses a phone monitoring system called Samsung Knox to keep information safe. Plus, since you’ll need to authenticate purchases with an iris scan, PIN or fingerprint, that adds extra security to your purchases. If your phone is lost or stolen, you can erase or remotely lock your Samsung Pay account with the Find My Mobile app.

Cons of Samsung Pay

To use Samsung Pay, you’ll need a Samsung phone or watch device. Currently, Samsung Pay only works on the following devices:

  • Galaxy Note10
  • Galaxy Note10+
  • Galaxy S10
  • Galaxy S10+
  • Galaxy Note9
  • Galaxy S9
  • Galaxy S9+
  • Galaxy Note8
  • Galaxy S8
  • Galaxy S8+
  • Galaxy S7 Edge
  • Galaxy S7
  • Galaxy S6 Edge+
  • Galaxy Note5
  • Galaxy S6 Edge
  • Galaxy S6 Active
  • Galaxy S6
  • Gear S3
  • Galaxy A50
  • Galaxy A70

If you don’t have or aren’t willing to get one of these devices, you won’t be able to use Samsung Pay.

Samsung Pay relies on technology, so there may be other limitations. If your phone battery dies, you won’t be able to access Samsung Pay and could be stuck without a form of payment if you aren’t carrying cash or a card. Not all merchants accept mobile payments yet, either. If your favorite merchant is cash-only, you won’t be able to use Samsung Pay there.

Another downside to Samsung Pay is that compared to other payment services, like Apple Pay, you can’t use Samsung Pay to send money to friends and contacts. You can only send and receive gift cards using Samsung Pay. You also can’t use Samsung Pay on a web browser from a desktop or laptop. You can only use it to make purchases with a mobile device, which limits your options. There’s also no web visibility to look at your Samsung Pay account online, so you’ll need your app to manage it.

Should I use Samsung Pay?

If you have a Samsung device, using Samsung Pay is an easy way to make payments and earn cash back and rewards points as you make everyday purchases. Samsung Pay is a more secure way to make purchases compared to credit and debit cards that aren’t processed with EMV chip technology because of the tokenization it uses.

As long as you’re OK with tapping your phone on a reader or clicking your Samsung Galaxy Watch to make a purchase, you might enjoy the convenience of making payments digitally. It helps to keep your batteries charged and carry an emergency form of payment just in case you encounter a merchant that doesn’t accept mobile wallet payments yet.