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Samsung Pay Beta Goes Live

After the last firmware upgrade on my Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, there was an app icon to launch Samsung Pay. However, it just launches a shell app that does nothing. However, I decided to sign up for beta testing on the Samsung website and got my invitation to try it out.

Soon after getting an email from Samsung, I launched the same app and now the screen shows an “Install” button (see below left). After the download is complete, the installer will ask if it’s okay to install by warning you about what Samsung Pay will access (see below middle). Press the “Install” button and you are done with the installation.

First, you have to add a credit or debit card by taking a picture of the card. During the beta, only Bank of America and US Bank cards are allowed. Moreover, Verizon has not yet joined the beta program. After you add your card, you will see a representation of your card (see below right).

samsung pay screens

Once you’re setup, you will see a little swipe tab at the bottom of the lock screen (see below). Even when you are on your lock screen, you can swipe up to launch Samsung Pay. You will see a representation image of your credit card (see top picture above). At this point, you can swipe left or right to set to your other credit or debit cards that you want to use.

samsung pay lock screen

Finally, you use your fingerprint on the home button to make your payment. Next, put the phone right to the magnetic stripe reader of the point of sale cash register.  Since Samsung Pay is still in beta, you will not find any cashier that has seen it and they will probably argue with you that it will not work. It’s great to watch the surprise on their face when it magically works. But the phone has to literally be almost touching the magnetic stripe reader for it to work.  This won’t work at restaurants where the waitress has to take your credit card to the back.

As you can see below, the register and processing center thinks that I swiped my card. Technically, there is no difference between swiping the card and Samsung Pay transmitting the information magnetically to the reader over the air. Also, just like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, your credit card number is not transmitted to the vendor so it’s safer than using your real credit card. If there is a hack on the store server, your credit card number is not at risk.

samsung pay receipt

Samsung claims that the credit card information is locked and encrypted on your phone so it’s safe and cannot be stolen even if your phone is lost or stolen. There are some people that are claiming that Samsung Pay will not work with credit cards that are chip/PIN cards, which is not the case. The card I used is chipped with a PIN and it works perfectly.

So far, my beta testing has worked properly but I’ve had Samsung Pay crash after a transaction was completed and I was not able to swipe up to launch it. Rebooting the phone seemed to be the only way to get it back up and running again. Hopefully, these bugs will be worked out before they officially launch on September 28, 2015.