Samsung Pay vs Google Pay (formerly Android Pay)

TransferWise
01.02.20
5 minute read

Both Samsung Pay and Google Pay are digital wallets, which allow users to pay with their phone or other device, instead of carrying cards. However, there are differences between the two systems, which you’ll want to know about.

Here’s our overview of Samsung Pay vs Google Pay.

Google Pay vs Samsung Pay - quick reference guide

Samsung Pay and Google Pay are pretty similar. With both you can swipe your phone at the register to pay. However, Google Pay is available on most Android smartphones - including Samsung devices, whereas Samsung Pay is only available on Samsung devices.


Here’s a rundown of some key features:¹ ²

Samsung Pay Google Pay
Available on Samsung devices Available on most Android devices, and some iOS devices in the US
Pay in stores using your phone Pay in stores using your phone
Use to ride some public transportation Use to ride some public transportation
Use PayPal in stores Send money to friends and family
Keep details of all your cards and gift vouchers in one wallet Keep details of all your cards in one wallet
Receive Samsung rewards Store details for tickets, coupons and gift vouchers
Make international payments via Travelex³ Use with the TransferWise balances and card for low cost international payments⁴
TransferWise's multi-currency card can be up to 4x cheaper when spending abroad, compared to banks and PayPal

Google Pay vs Samsung Pay in depth

Not sure which digital wallet to go with? Here’s a run through of some of the most common questions and answers relating to Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

Where can I use Google Pay and Samsung Pay?

Both Samsung Pay and Google Pay can be used when shopping in brick and mortar stores, online and using apps - as long as your device supports the system you choose.

To use either Google Pay or Samsung Pay in a store, the retailer will need to have the right technology. Samsung states that Samsung Pay is the most widely accepted digital wallet out there, as it uses technology which is compatible with most retail payment terminals, sending out magnetic signals much like your regular bank card would.

What device type do I need to have?

To use Samsung Pay you’ll need a Samsung Device.
To use Google Pay to spend in stores, you’ll need an Android phone with NFC support. You can, however, get Google Pay on an iPhone or iPad, to make simple payments using linked cards, and store tickets and vouchers. ⁵

What can I do with Samsung Pay and Google Pay?

Both Samsung Pay and Google Pay allow you to add your card details to make payments. That means you can leave your wallet at home.

If you have the full functionality, you’ll be able to use your phone to pay for things in stores, as well as shopping online. Here’s a rundown of what you can do with both products.

Samsung Pay Google Pay
Pay in-store, online and in apps Pay using your phone in stores and restaurants
Store details of credit cards, memberships and gift cards - the cards must have a barcode to add them Shop online without needing to re-enter your card details
Send money to friends and family Buy items in apps
Earn Samsung rewards when you shop Send money to friends and family - link to the TransferWise borderless account and card for cheap international payments
Use Samsung’s virtual prepaid card to shop and send money Fill in forms automatically on Chrome

How do payments work?

Google Pay uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to process payments. Samsung Pay uses both NFC and Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST). Most traditional payment terminals use MST, so retailers might need to upgrade to enable payments using Google Pay.


You can also use both Google Pay and Samsung Pay to send money to friends and family. If you’re sending money internationally with Google Pay you can use TransferWise to access cheap cross border payments. Samsung customers will make international payments through Travelex.


It’s good to know that cross border payments with the TransferWise borderless account and card are made using the mid-market exchange rate. There’s no markup added, and no hidden fees to worry about - just a transparent charge per transaction. This can work out much cheaper than using your normal bank, or an alternative service like PayPal.

How do I fund payments?

In the US, you can use Google Pay with many different types of cards, including those from the following banks and institutions:

  • Amex
  • BAC
  • Barclays US
  • BBVA Compass
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • CITI
  • Discover
  • Green Dot
  • HSBC
  • NFCU
  • PNC
  • Regions
  • Synchrony
  • USAA
  • US Bank
  • Wells Fargo

There’s an exhaustive list on the Google Pay website which shows which cards can be used, and details any specific accounts which are not supported. ⁶

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You can also use Samsung Pay with a broad range of account and card types - Samsung advises you check with your bank to see if your specific card or account is compatible. You’ll be able to add up to 10 different credit, debit and store cards to your account - and unlimited gift cards. ⁷


It’s also worth noting that Samsung Pay may not often support corporate or business cards. Google Pay is compatible with a number of corporate cards, as detailed in their online listings.

Are Google Pay and Samsung Pay secure?

Both systems store your card details securely to make payments safe. You’ll upload your card details to use Google Pay or Samsung Pay, but these aren’t actually stored on your phone. Instead, the details are matched with a virtual account number. This is what is shared when you make a purchase, keeping your actual card number safe.


There are also other layers of security built into both systems. To make a purchase you’ll usually need to unlock your phone, using your passcode, fingerprint or facial recognition. You can remotely wipe your details if your phone is lost or stolen. And both companies employ top notch anti fraud systems to make sure information is never hacked or corrupted.

So which should I choose - Google Pay or Samsung Pay?

To an extent, this depends on the phone or device you want to use.

Samsung Pay is only available on eligible Samsung devices. This means that if you have a Samsung phone, you can use either system - or both if you prefer. For other Android phones, choose Google Pay. And if you have an iPhone, your only option is Google Pay - although the functionality available is still limited for iPhones and iPads.


Google Pay has the advantage that you can also use it on a desktop, handy if you’re shopping online. Samsung Pay may be more widely accepted if you’re traveling and retailers have older payment terminals. But other than that, it’s down to device type and personal preference.


So there you have it. All you need to know, to get started with either Google Pay or Samsung Pay. Both systems are convenient ways to make online, in-store and in app purchases, without even needing to get your wallet out. And if you’re using Google Pay you can also benefit from the low cost international payments available from TransferWise. Check out how you can save, with the TransferWise borderless account and card.


Sources:

  1. Google Pay
  2. Samsung Pay
  3. Finablr - Newsroom - Samsung Pay and Finablr Announce Cross-Border Payments Partnership
  4. TransferWise - Help Center - How do I use my TransferWise card with Google Pay?
  5. Google Pay on the App Store
  6. Google Pay - Help Center - United States: Supported payment methods
  7. Samsung Pay - Frequently asked questions about purchases in Samsung Pay

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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