Starting next month, electronics giant Samsung will enable in-app payments for U.S. Samsung Pay users shopping in several merchant mobile apps, including those from Velocity, Raise, Fancy and Hello Vino.
Samsung also will start offering Samsung Pay users discounts and coupons offered by nearby stores and restaurants that can be instantly redeemed.
By the end of this year, Samsung Pay also is expected to be available in three more countries — Malaysia, Russia and Thailand — on top of the seven where it has been introduced in since launching in the U.S. a little over a year ago.
As the "Wallet Wars" continue, all payment players are trying to figure out what they need to do to rise above a crowded market stewing with so many different big brand names that consumers probably can't keep track of them anymore.
The ability to allow in-app payments is going to be essential to any platform that wants to align with retailers and other e-commerce firms, because those companies want to make it as easy (and, yes, as frictionless as possible) for mobile shoppers to search for products, add them to a carts and pay for them all within a single app, and in as few moves as possible. Samsung has not been as quick to enable that capability as Apple Pay and Android Pay, the latter of which rolled it out last December. For now, Samsung is supporting it with just a few merchants, but it's a start.
In addition, Samsung Pay users can now complete transactions through MasterCard's Masterpass digital wallet, a partnership the credit card provider first announced earlier this week. The alignment could help both Samsung Pay and Masterpass gain a stronger market foothold, enabling interoperability between platforms that is invisible to the user yet grants each payments platform the appearance of broader reach and availability. Moreover, the ability to instantly redeem coupons delivered in context to the user's location also should encourage people to use Samsung Pay a bit more impulsively — maybe they use the app to purchase something while walking down the street, then receive a coupon for a restaurant that's just a block away and decide to use it to buy lunch.
Making Samsung Pay available in as many countries as possible certainly will help its case versus the competition, but in specific markets, these other capabilities and partnerships are necessary to help Samsung Pay pick up usage. Samsung may continue to lag Apple Pay and Android Pay in mobile payments adoption and usage for now, but if it can connect with users that love its brand and its phones (and can forgive that certain ones caught on fire), it could find itself in a solid market position among payment apps not native to retailers.