Entering 2021, there’s one less payment rewards program. That would be Samsung Pay’s points incentive for its U.S. users. Universal mobile pays including Apple Pay and Google Pay got off to a slow start when first introduced in late 2014. Consumers still had muscle memory to pull out their plastic to pay at POS rather than with their smartphone, so mobile payments providers decided to try rewards.
With 2020 being a year of increased contactless payments due to the pandemic, universal mobile pays are now more popular. Apple and Google have retained their own user incentives, but now Samsung is restricting points for U.S. users to its online store.
The following excerpt from a Business Insider article reports more on the topic:
Samsung Pay ended its long-standing rewards program for its US users. The mobile wallet will now only offer rewards for purchases made at Samsung-branded outlets like Samsung.com or the Samsung Galaxy Store, or “by visiting special locations announced by Samsung Pay,” per NFCW. This means that outside of Samsung outlets, users will no longer earn rewards points for Samsung Pay transactions or gift card purchases.
The ending of the rewards program—which took effect on January 1, 2021—also means that the tier scheme that lets Samsung Pay users get a higher rate of rewards based on the number of points earned in a given period has concluded.
Samsung Pay’s rewards program was a major adoption and usage driver for the mobile wallet. Samsung Pay rewards were initially introduced in November 2016, about a year after the mobile wallet launched in the US. Thanks to the program, the mobile wallet garnered millions of users throughout the US: Samsung Pay saw 25% month-over-month growth between November 2016 and November 2017, and it gained 1 million US users in the first week of November 2017 alone.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group