Samsung Pay recently added the ability to use membership and loyalty cards with its mobile wallet app, allowing quick access to cards from places like your local library, club stores like Costco, and rewards from places like Starbucks and CVS.

Support for loyalty cards is not new to mobile wallets. What makes Samsung’s approach novel is how these cards are treated just like payment cards in the app. A consumer adds them to the wallet in the same way, and can also choose to make them made available through Simple Pay, Samsung’s top-of-wallet feature that enables quick card access from the phone’s lock screen.

By moving loyalty cards out of your wallet or off of your key ring, Samsung is showing consumers how mobile wallet storage of these credentials can be every bit as convenient as the plastic card.

More significantly, loyalty cards provide skeptical consumers with a low-risk way of test driving a mobile wallet to see how it works. While security is still the biggest reason consumers cite when asked why they do not use a mobile wallet, 25% also explain that they do not know how to use a mobile wallet.

Getting consumers to try loading a loyalty or membership card into Samsung Pay can help get these consumers over their educational hurdle and, in the process, may encourage repeat use of the wallet by reinforcing several key benefits, including:

  1. Simplicity of adding a new card. Snap a quick pic of your card, give it a name, and you are ready to go. Yes, adding a payment card does take a bit longer, and may even require a phone call to your bank to activate, but the first step in wallet adoption is simply getting consumers to try the functionality.
  2. Convenient access to the card. Swipe up on the Samsung Pay tab on the lock screen and your loyalty cards are instantly available. It almost certainly takes longer to get out your key ring or wallet to access your plastic card than a quick swipe on the phone that you probably already had in your hand. And, for those of you who hate having a dozen cards attached to your keys and turn instead to authenticating yourself at the point of sale by your telephone number, top-of-mobile wallet access proves to be far more convenient.
  3. Low-stress trial use. Standing in line at Chick-fil-A with 20 people waiting behind you is not the best time to figure out how to use your new mobile wallet for the first time. Neither the cashier nor your fellow patrons are likely to patient while you figure things out. Stopping by the gym or the library can provide a much more wallet-friendly opportunity to give it a shot.

Loyalty card support will not answer consumers’ concerns over mobile wallet safety. Nor is it likely to move the needle much on merchant acceptance of multiple wallet solutions. But, if it gives consumers enough confidence to download the app to see what all the fuss is about, then it puts them one giant step closer to leaving their plastic cards behind.


About Emmett Higdon

Emmett is the Director of Mobile, helping clients better understand the pivotal role that mobile technology plays in the financial lives of their customers. With more than 20 years’ experience in online and mobile financial services, Emmett combines strategic perspective with client-side experience and a keen understanding of consumer expectations to help clients craft mobile-adoption and engagement strategies.

Before joining Javelin, Emmett was a senior director of mobile strategy for TIAA-CREF, helping the firm meet the rapidly growing demand for mobile retirement-planning advice and account access from investors of all ages, from millennials to seniors. Emmett founded Prizm Strategy, a mobile-payment and customer-experience consultancy. Before that, he was a senior analyst with Forrester Research, covering e-business and channel strategy, and also spent eight years as a vice president of product development with Citibank.

Emmett is a frequent contributor to outlets including The New York Times, American Banker, National Public Radio, and The Wall Street Journal, and presenter at BAI Retail Delivery, NACHA Payments, and NetFinance.

Emmett holds an MBA in marketing from Loyola University and a bachelor’s degree in The Writing Seminars from The Johns Hopkins University. 

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