Sometimes, Mobile Payments Save the Day

February 14, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Granted, this is a bit of anecdotal evidence only and may not work for everybody the same way, but there are times when mobile payments can be something approaching a lifesaver. Jessica Dolcourt at CNET wrote up her account of how Samsung Pay on the Samsung Galaxy S9 did just that, and by extension, gave us all a look at how mobile payments can be a wonderful backup tool.

Dolcourt accounted that there was a “sequence of events” that took place that even she can’t account for in retrospect, but suffice it to say, she left the house with her coat, her backpack, and a Samsung-issued review-item Galaxy S9 Plus in her back pocket. You’ll notice that “credit cards”, “cash”, and “ID” were listed nowhere in that sentence and for good reason; she’d left the house without a single one.

Now left to tackle the day with nothing but her Samsung phone as her only source of cash, the fact that she’d previously set up a Samsung Pay account—complete with link to her credit cards—suddenly came as a source of great relief. But could she tackle the entire day with just the phone? It must have seemed like a good time to find out.

Dolcourt describes Samsung Pay as “more powerful and more forgiving than Google Pay and Apple Pay,” and, much as Hannibal Buress noted in that Samsung Pay commercial involving Katz’s Deli, is accepted pretty much everywhere that can handle a magnetic stripe payment terminal. The move genuinely left her worried, as she’d never used Samsung Pay solo before. What she found, though, was that it worked about as well as advertised, though with some hiccups.

It’s easy to understand the concern here; we know mobile payments are part of a young industry, and the kinks haven’t been worked out yet. Having them on hand as a backup—or with a backup—might be a good plan. Some people can leave the house without their wallet in their pants. Most never leave without their phones. Thus, having a payment method that works from a phone is a stroke of genius and the perfect backup tool.

While it’s not exactly ready for prime time yet, as Dolcourt noted—carrying some cash will be useful for the foreseeable future—it’s certainly a fine backup plan.