How Does Samsung Pay Work? Everything You Need To Know

Adam Rozsa

With mobile payments options like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and virtual credit cards available, the days of carrying a physical set of debit and credit cards for purchases may be coming to an end. Now you can use your phone to make secure, contactless payments directly from your accounts.

As a top smartphone provider, Samsung also offers a mobile payment option through their Samsung Pay application. This article will give you the rundown on how Samsung Pay works, tell you how to set it up, provide a comparison to its competition, and highlight some other useful information.

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📝 Table of contents

How does Samsung Pay work?

To start, know that Samsung Pay only works on Samsung hardware, so if you have an iPhone or Android based phone that isn’t a Samsung model, you won’t be able to use this application for payments.

On all models before the Galaxy S21—released in January 2021—Samsung Pay works to make payments through two technologies called near-field communication and magnetic secure transmission—MST and NFC. From the Galaxy S21 on, Samsung phones will only use NFC.

💡NFC is the emerging payment technology of choice, used by both Android and Apple phones for their payment applications. It’s becoming very widely available, but it’s still taking time for some retailers to acquire the readers needed for this technology.

To offset the availability issue in countries like India, Samsung models—up until 2021—came equipped with MST payment technology as well. This gives most Samsung phones the ability to make payments nearly anywhere in the world.

How do I set up Samsung Pay?

Setting up Samsung Pay is relatively easy. You just install the application on your Samsung phone and sign in to your Samsung account—set one up if you haven’t already. From there, the application will have you create a login via PIN, iris scan or fingerprint identification.

Next, you’ll be able to scan in your credit, debit, prepaid or gift card using the phone’s camera, and you can also link your PayPal account as well. The application will then ask you to verify the card via text, phone call or email, and you’re good to go.

The app allows up to 10 cards to be linked at one time.

how does samsung pay work

How do you pay with Samsung Pay?

You don’t even need to be logged into the phone to make a payment with Samsung pay, but don’t worry. There are always security protocols in place when using the app.

Simply swipe up on the Samsung Pay bar on your homescreen and then select the card you want to pay with. Next, for security, verify with your fingerprint, iris, or PIN number, and then tap the back of the phone on the payment terminal just like a physical card tap function.

If you linked and selected a debit card, the terminal may prompt you to also type in your PIN number for the card. After that, the payment will process, and you should receive a notification on your phone for the successful transaction. You can also revisit any previous payments in the app.

This same process also works for returns as well. Just open the app, select the card you used for the purchase, verify, and tap or scan.

What stores accept Samsung Pay?

Any store in a supported country with a terminal that accepts NFC payments can accept Samsung Pay. For the US, this includes millions of stores and nearly all of major chains and retailers, as NFC technology use has become widespread.

If you have a model that predates the Galaxy S21, you can also use Samsung Pay in supported countries at stores with a card reader that accepts MST payments.

how does samsung pay work

Is there a monthly fee for Samsung Pay?

No. The Samsung Pay application and its features are free to use for anyone with a Samsung device. Just link a card and start making payments.

In fact, you can actually make a little cash back on your purchases using Samsung Pay if you sign up for their Cash Back Awards program. This allows you to get a return on purchases through select merchants who have an agreement with Samsung. You can see a list of these merchants in the app.

Samsung Pay vs. Google Pay vs. Apple Pay

While these three payment methods may have some differences in the number of available countries, the key difference is in the payment technology.

Apple Pay and Google Pay exclusively use NFC technology for payments whereas Samsung phones—released up until 2021—also use MSI technology. This opens Samsung Pay for use at a lot more stores.

Also, Samsung Pay offers a cash back rewards program where you can earn points and promotions through participating merchants.

For payments between friends and family, Apple Pay and Google Pay have a little edge as you can directly send money via messaging and other internal methods. With Samsung Pay, you need to sign up for a Samsung Pay Cash prepaid debit card. From there, you can send peer-to-peer payments through Samsung Pay Cash accounts.

Samsung PayGoogle PayApple Pay
Available countries23 countries verified, and they’re adding more.¹40 countries⁵63 countries⁹
Compatible devicesSamsung Galaxy phones dating back to the Note 5 in 2015²For contactless payments, any NFC-enabled smartphone running Android with the Google Pay app and Lollipop 5.0 or higher.⁶For contactless payments in-store, iPhones with face and touch ID and Apple watches Series 1 and later¹⁰
Accepted cardsDebit, credit, gift, and prepaid cards³Debit, credit, loyalty, and gift cards.⁷Debit, credit, gift, and loyalty cards. Also some prepaid cards from affiliated banks.¹¹
AuthenticationPIN, iris scan, or fingerprint scan⁴Password, PIN, pattern, fingerprint scan, iris scan, or 3D facial scan.⁸Face ID, fingerprint scan, or passcode¹²
Where can you use itNFC and MST terminals⁴NFC terminals⁵NFC terminals¹³
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how does samsung pay work

Where is Samsung Pay available?

Samsung Pay is currently available in France, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Canada, Puerto Rico, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brazil, India, United Kingdom, Spain, Singapore, Taiwan, and the USA.¹

Does Samsung Pay work outside the US?

Yes, Samsung Pay works outside the US at any compatible terminal, as long as the selected card also processes international payments. However, you might not be eligible for rewards redemptions while traveling abroad.¹⁴

Also, if you try to register another card while outside the US, you may need to contact your bank for approval.

Is Samsung Pay safe to use?

Like Google Pay and Apple Pay, Samsung uses tokenization technology to safeguard your information.

This means that when you upload your card onto Samsung’s servers, it is encrypted and stored there for safekeeping. Then, a random token is generated by the application when you pay for something instead of the actual card number. The terminal links the token to your card and processes the payment.

In terms of security, this is a very safe method of paying for items, as the merchant or Samsung never have access to your card number.

how does samsung pay work

What if I lose my phone, smartwatch or my bank card?

If your phone or smartwatch is stolen, no one has access to your card numbers, as only the last four digits show on the phone. And to use Samsung Pay, they would need access to your PIN. However, there’s an added layer of security because you can auto lock the phone and suspend Samsung Pay using Samsung’s Find My Mobile application.

If you lose your bank card or it expires, you need to contact your bank for a new card and then replace the card in Samsung Pay.

Can I use Samsung Pay without a data connection?

While you do need an internet connection to add or remove payment methods, you can use previously stored cards up to 10 times without an internet connection.⁴

Is Samsung Pay worth it?

That’s for you to decide! Samsung Pay is an encrypted, secure payment application that allows you to store debit, credit, gift, and loyalty cards on your Samsung phone for use all over the world.

Up until 2021, Galaxy devices came equipped with NFC and MST technology, which allows for payments nearly everywhere in supported countries. There’s no fee to use the service, and there’s even a rewards program with some affiliated retailers.

Overall, it’s a solid, secure way to make a payment.


  1. Samsung - Countries in which Samsung Pay is supported
  2. Samsung - Introducing Financial Products
  3. Samsung - Samsung Pay Terms of Service
  4. Samsung - Commonly asked questions about Samsung Pay
  5. Google - Google Pay Help - Find supported payment methods for contactless purchases
  6. Google - Google Pay Merchant Help - Requirements
  7. Google - Google Pay Help - Add a payment method
  8. Google - Google Pay Help - Set up lock screen to make contactless payments
  9. Apple - Countries and regions that support Apple Pay
  10. Apple - Devices compatible with Apple Pay
  11. Apple - Set up Apple Pay
  12. Apple - How to use Apple Pay
  13. Apple - Apple Pay security and privacy overview
  14. Samsung - Use Samsung Pay outside of the US

All sources checked on 30 July 2021

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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