Samsung Launches Apple Card Competitor Starting in the UK
Samsung has paired with Mastercard and fintech company "Curve" to power the new service. Curve allows users to link existing cards together and then decide which accounts should be used for different purchases. For reasons that are not entirely clear, existing Curve customers are ineligible to apply for Samsung Pay Card.
Curve offers some unique features, such as the ability to "go back in time" on purchases. For example, if you buy something on your credit card, and later decide that the purchase should have been made on a different card, you have up to 90 days to switch the purchase.
"Now, more than ever, people need a secure payment solution they can rely on. We're excited to be able to put the control back into our customers' hands, by launching Samsung Pay Card," said Conor Pierce, Corporate Vice-President of Samsung UK and Ireland. "At Samsung we believe in the power of innovation and, through our partnership with Curve, the Samsung Pay Card brings a series of pioneering features that will change the way that our customers manage their spending, with their Samsung smartphone and smartwatch at the heart of it. This is the future of banking and we look forward to continuing this journey with our customers."
Samsung Pay Card offers five percent cashback on purchases from Samsung, and one percent cashback at other retailers. It also offers instant spend notifications and currency conversion at market rates when traveling abroad, which Samsung claims will be cheaper than the currency conversion fees at many high street banks.
Payments are protected by "Samsung Knox" security, a "multi-layered defense-grade" security solution. In the event of a smartphone loss, access to Samsung Pay Card can be instantly locked using another device from the Samsung ecosystem.
Although Samsung Pay Card cashback rates are lower than that of Apple Card, it is important to understand that the UK credit market generally has much lower rates of cashback than the U.S. due to lower merchant fees. A one percent cashback rate could be considered quite competitive within the UK. For comparison, the American Express Platinum Cashback card offers only 0.5 percent; one of the highest cashback rates in the country.
Unlike Apple Card, Samsung Pay Card does not offer a physical card. It is a purely digital service available via NFC on Samsung smartphones and smartwatches. Although contactless payments in the UK are usually capped at £45, a spokesperson for Curve said that there is no spending limit on Samsung Card Pay.
Samsung Pay Card is currently only available in the UK, but a rollout elsewhere is likely at a later date. Apple Card has not yet launched outside of the U.S., meaning that Samsung has a captive market in the UK.