Posted by Chuck on May 11, 2017
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Published on May 11th, 2017 | by Chuck

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Cheapest Way to Get Samsung Pay (3x on Altitude, Gift Card Deals)

Why We Care about Samsung Pay

Lots of people are interested in having access to Samsung Pay for a couple of reasons:

  • The US Bank Altitude card earns 3x on mobile payments. While Apple Pay is also eligible, Samsung Pay works even in places that don’t have NFC capabilities due to it’s MST technology. In simple English that means that almost anywhere you can swipe a credit card, you can use Samsung Pay. By placing your phone next to the swiper, it will ‘trick’ the swiper into thinking it’s been swiped.
  • Samsung Pay regularly releases some nice gift card deals.

Even iOS users might find it worthwhile to have a secondary Samsung Pay device to take advantage of these deals, though it is, admittedly, a hassle to have to lug around a second device. Figure out how much you’d be using mobile payments and how much you’ll gain by having a Samsung phone to decide if it’s worth dealing with.

Eligible Devices

The following devices support Samsung Pay: Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S7 Active, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy S6 Active, Galaxy Note5.

Supported carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Cricket, MetroPCS, and US.Cellular.

Another option is to get a Gear3 smartwatch which has Samsung Pay and can pair with any Android phone running Android 4.4 or above, even non-Samsung phones or older Samsung phones. It won’t work with an iOS device, however.

Gear S3 works with MST as well, giving it the same wide acceptance as all Samsung Pay devices. Gear S2 only works with NFC, not MST, so you aren’t better off than using an iPhone. (Samsung link)

Cheapest Options

The cheapest will likely be to find a used (32 gb) Samsung S6 or Note 5 on Swappa, eBay, Craigslist, or Amazon. From a casual ‘galaxy s6’ search on Amazon, it looks like you can score a refurbished phone for around $200, slightly less for a used phone. Similar prices on eBay.

You might find a cheap deal on a more advanced phone or on a new phone. For example, there was a deal to get a new Note 5 from Walmart for $199. Remember, assuming you only need the phone for limited uses (mobile payments or buying gift cards), lots of the minor issues with second-hand phones aren’t a big deal.

Just be aware that many second-hand phones (and maybe refurbs too?) are rooted/jailbroken, and Samsung Pay won’t work on those. Verify first that it hasn’t been rooted or just buy a cheap new phone (or refurb?).

If you are looking into the smartwatch option mentioned above, it looks like the Gear S3 costs around $300 new or closer to $200 if you opt for a used one. (Amazon link, eBay link)

Of course, veteran shoppers know that there are always ways to stack deals and get these thing for a better price. For example, wait for a 10% eBay Bucks promo or use some Amazon stacking for a discount there.

Miscellaneous Facts

  • Samsung Pay won’t work on rooted phones.
  • Some people report that Samsung Pay won’t work properly on an unlocked phone. Others have success with unlocked phones. (The data points I’ve seen are with phones that got unlocked by carrier, so it might be that it will work on network-unlocked phones but not on factory-unlocked phones.)
  • Some mention that Samsung Pay won’t work on an international device. (See also this comment.)
  • I’m not sure if you need service to initially activate your Samsung Pay, but you certainly can use it without service at all.

Final Thoughts

Any other important things to know before buying a device for Samsung Pay? Other good ways to get it for cheap? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it into the post. I’m not an expert on this subject, but thought it’d be useful to have a post where we can discuss these issues.

If you ever see a cheap way to get a Samsung Pay device in the future, please let us know in the comments. You can also subscribe to the comments to get a alerted if such a comment comes through.



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Justin
Justin

Thanks Chuck. Simple but good writeup.

Eddy Cue
Eddy Cue

Some $200 dollar options on Groupon as well and you can get cashback to lower your cost (up to 10% depending on your portal of choice).

I just got an S8 for personal use and havent started using the phone yet (for general use that is) but I already set it up for Samsung Pay to take advantage of the Mother’s Day GC sales.

https://www.groupon.com/deals/gg-samsung-galaxy-s6-g920p-scratch-and-dent?p=1&utm_source=crm_im&utm_medium=email&t_division=boston&user=ff6bc0a70fd56f803bc83ef29f49fbc773c152f3c591d46f12c479ec54b2aec0&date=20170510&uu=75710e50-089d-11e6-95d4-002590e87748&CID=US&tx=0&s=body&c=button&d=Goods-PN-Hero&utm_campaign=4551d4eb-5c41-46fd-935a-079787d9337a_0_20170510

Kyle
Kyle

You can sideload samsung pay to international version (at least for S7E). Everything works fine except the membership cards & Amex cards.

Prasanna
Prasanna

Also on some of the old credit card readers, Samsung Pay works well with credit cards but not with debit cards though

Dan
Dan

Since you mentioned waiting for an eBay Bucks offer, just wanted to mention that there is a targeted 10% eBay Bucks offer going on now through 5/12.

William Charles

Thanks, just posted!

IOException
IOException

Are you sure that by unlocked they don’t mean rooted?

Jay
Jay

The language used in the post implies that Chuck knows the difference. Plus, no carrier or factory would pre-root any phone…

Can’t imagine how SP not working could possibly be related to the network locking status of the phone though.

But yes, rooting would automatically disable the Samsung Knox shell that is used to secure SP payments, so SP will not work on rooted phones. Might be worth adding as a note.

John
John

Samsung has pulled the claim that Samsung Pay is supported on the Gear S3

R
R

I have S7 factory unlocked, no issues with Samsung pay. Just need to get US bank card

JP
JP

You don’t need to have service on the phone, correct?

YRK
YRK

No. It works without any internet even. Just need to sync after 4-5 transactions so have to connect to Wi-Fi in between but not necessary at time of transaction.

Deb
Deb

Thanks for this post. I have a galaxy s5 and no plans to update soon but am dying to get Samsung pay. Might look into a cheapy used just to get the access.

iahphx
iahphx

OK, so I have a new Altitude card and I do some manufactured spending (casually, I’m not a “professional” — I just want some miles for my next trip). I’ve never used a mobile bill pay system and my current phone isn’t fancy enough to support it. So I’m mildly interested in getting a phone upgrade and using Samsung pay. But, realistically, how much money can I “make” by doing this? For everyday spending, you can’t be talking about enough money to be worthwhile, especially when you consider the current hassles/unavailability of mobile pay. For gift cards, I tend to only buy them at office supply stores and supermarkets. Those are already bonus categories for other credit cards. So what’s the big deal? Now I suppose if I were a “professional” MS operative, I’d care. But what about the regular miles crowd?

Michael M.
Michael M.

I tend to agree. I’m not going to blame anyone for getting a Samsung phone for this purpose, but I feel like the MS opportunities to really hit this hard won’t be there. If that Frequent Miler post DOC linked to yesterday is any indication, I think they’ll shut down the big MSers or be quick nuke the mobile payment bonus altogether.

Daniel
Daniel

> especially when you consider the current hassles/unavailability of mobile pay

That’s why everyone is excited about using samsung pay. MST technology lets you use mobile pay anywhere you can swipe a normal old-fashioned magnetic stripe credit card, so you can get the 3x on ALL (or almost all) transactions.

Jordan
Jordan

Beats Wayne is to buy a used and cracked screen s6 or s6 edge. I bought two light cracked screens on swappa boneyard for less than $100/ea.

I have heard that esn needs to be clean but I’m not sure if that’s true. Service is not required to activate Samsung pay but obviously wifi is.

In order to use in store without service you’ll need to use public wifi or have another phone with service you can tether to.

Jay
Jay

“In order to use in store without service you’ll need to use public wifi or have another phone with service you can tether to.”

No, you don’t need to be connected to the internet to use SP.
You just need to reconnect every ~5 transactions or so.

Jordan
Jordan

Wow, that is pretty incredible – had no clue. I guess it makes sense though since it’s just creating a token that represents your card info.

are the other “-pays” the same? (android, apple, etc)?

Jay
Jay

No, each major mobile wallet is a little different from each other.

Apple Pay uses an embedded secure element (eSE) to allow for virtually unlimited offline transactions. Technically Samsung Pay uses eSE too, but (given the choice) most banks they work with choose to have some cloud-based element for their tokenization.

On the other hand, because Google doesn’t manufacture every phone that runs Android (and so does not have control over some hardware aspects of the phone, such as having to include an embedded secure element), Android Pay instead relies on HCE, which fully relies on tokens from the cloud. So as with Samsung Pay, there will be a limited number of offline transactions that you can make using the supply of stored tokens that are unexpired, though I’m not quite sure exactly how many.

garaged
garaged

The key is not unlocked vs. locked. The problem is that international devices come with different versions of the firmware and OS with a CSC code relevant to the region it was sourced from.

This means that a G925F (S6 Edge) unlocked international version, with a BTU (one of the two UK unlocked models) CSC will not work with Samsung Pay, whereas an XSG (UAE) CSC firmware G925F with the EXACT same hardware in it will. The Samsung Pay framework software is common but the app itself has different versions ranging in size from 30 to 60mb that have and don’t have features like gift cards and show local offers (in $) versus the offers in your CSC’s actual country. Lately, the apps have started forcing you to update to the newer versions and automatically set most of your offers based on the CSC – this means an XSG CSC phone can’t see all the wonderful gift card deals that someone with a G925T on T-Mobile can in the US. Another issue with this is that some regions don’t have some payment networks enabled yet – for instance XSG can’t add Amex cards.

You can switch between firmware versions for the G925F models internationally (between BTU. XSG, XSA etc.) without messing up your phone too much. Moreover, if you root, your Knox security bit is permanently tripped and you cannot use Samsung Pay ever again on that device.

Nick
Nick

I bought an unlocked phone on ebay that doesn’t work. The reason is because it was jailbroke before sold to me. This will make the NFC feature not work.

Ajax
Ajax

Instead of mentioning Unlocked phones, I think it’s more relevant to remind readers about ROOTED PHONES. S Pay WON’T work on them. And unlike the unlocking status, they are less often mentioned by a seller if you buy used.
Rooting disables Samsung Pay FOR GOOD.

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