Samsung Pay’s new loyalty program will breathe life into mobile payments. The added incentives offered by Samsung Rewards will prompt consumers to adopt the technology, and encourage other providers to improve their own platforms.
At the height of the mobile payment hype a couple of years ago, all the publicity pointed towards a revolution in the payment environment. But a few years have passed, cards are still the standard, and various mobile payment initiatives have pulled the plug.
In 2015, Weve was cancelled before it even got off the ground in the UK, and in the US Softcard was purchased and discontinued by Google. Meanwhile Canada’s Suretap and New Zealand’s Semble have both been terminated in 2016. The events of the last two years clearly show that consumers are not convinced about the benefits of mobile payments.
This is at least partly because providers have only been focused on getting their service to market, hoping that the technology will be enough to entice consumers. But for mobile payments to truly take off, companies need to develop solutions that offer much more than plastic cards.
Samsung is leading the charge. Samsung Pay now includes Samsung Rewards, which according to the company is the first loyalty program offered by any mobile payment service. It is also a development that will help drive wider adoption of mobile wallets.
Although a loyalty program is nothing new in payments, it will at least entice consumers to try Samsung Pay – something many new services have struggled to do. The move also puts pressure on competitors to develop their own offerings and build compelling use cases, creating an environment of innovation that will help push the space forward. Services such as ticketing and restaurant booking would greatly enhance the functionality of mobile wallets and help drive adoption.
The development of mobile payments will not end with loyalty incentives. But the first step is encouraging consumers to try the technology and experience its benefits. In this respect, Samsung Rewards will undoubtedly be successful.
By Arnie Cho, Senior Consumer Payments Analyst