Key to Mobile Wallet Adoption? Rewards, Samsung Pay Bets

  • Diana Asatryan
  • May 1, 2017
  • 0

It’s no secret that mobile wallets, although well-intended, haven’t gained much traction among consumers.

In fact, a recent Accenture study suggests that 56% of North American consumers are aware of mobile payment services, but only 19% use their mobile wallet regularly. After all, consumers are not ready to give up their cash and card-filled wallets quite yet. Despite this trend, more and more FIs keep coming up with their own iterations of mobile wallets.

So what can companies do to speed up the adoption of digital wallets?

In-app rewards may be the solution, according to Nana Murugesan, VP of services and new business at Samsung Electronics.

“Mobile wallets are taking time, maybe more time than predicted,” Murugesan told Bank Innovation. “But one thing a U.S. consumer is very ready and eager for is rewards.”

The tech giant launched a rewards program for its mobile wallet, Samsung Pay, back in November. The program, Samsung Rewards, resembles a standard credit card points programs: users get a set amount of points each time they make purchases via Samsung Pay. More purchases thus means more points. Then, the points can be redeemed for things like Samsung products (of course), gift cards, or an instant prepaid credit card (issued by Citi). Other perks include sweepstakes, and “Instant Win” prizes, such as a yoga retreat in Maui, for example.

Customers seem to be responding well.

“Within a month of the launch, we saw that transactions on Samsung Pay doubled month over month, that was a significant jump,” Murugesan said. “What we are even more proud of is that the number of people using the app everyday increased by 25%.” Murugesan did not disclose the total number of users, or the monthly transaction volume on Samsung Pay.

First and foremost, Samsung Rewards is intended for changing customer behavior, he added. “We want to get consumers to use smart devices to make payments, rather than traditional cards and wallets, and that’s hard and slow,” he explained. “But we think that incentivizing behavioral change will help accelerate the adoption.”

Samsung Pay won’t be the only outlet for the tech giant’s rewards program; users are already able to earn reward points on Samsung Health (the company’s healthy lifestyle app), and will soon see an integration with other Samsung apps, including Shop Samsung (a shopping app for Samsung products). However, all of the points users earn across the different apps are redeemable via Samsung’s digital wallet only.

In other words, in order to take advantage of Samsung’s reward points, earned through any of the company’s apps, a user has to first download the Samsung Pay app. (Adoption growth achieved?)

The company is now in the midst of “active discussions” with different financial institutions over loyalty program integrations, according to Murugesan. “We want to see what are the best ways to exchange and redeem loyalty points for consumers across the different platforms, whether the user earns those points through the bank, or through us,” he added.

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