Samsung really wants you to use its mobile-payment service -- so much so that it's willing to hand out prizes to frequent Samsung Pay users, just to keep them reaching for their mobile phones when it's time to pay for things.
On Thursday (Nov. 17), the company plans to launch a program called Samsung Rewards to encourage you to turn to Samsung Pay early and often at checkout stands. Under Samsung Rewards, you'll earn points every time you make a purchase using Samsung Pay. You can redeem those points for retailer gift cards, a Samsung Rewards Visa gift card and other Samsung products.
Samsung says it will also offer what it's calling Instant Win prizes to Samsung Rewards enrollees. The first Instant Win prize will be a trip for two to California's Napa Valley, the company said in its Samsung Rewards announcement.
The more you use Samsung Pay, the more points Samsung is willing to give you. A normal transaction will get you 10 points, but make five purchases in a month and you can double the points per transaction. Points triple after 20 Samsung Pay transactions, and quadruple to 40 points per transaction, when you use Samsung more than 30 times in a month.
Really, it sounds an awful lot like the rewards programs credit-card companies offer their customers. Every three months or so, an envelope will arrive from my credit-card provider containing special offers and deals, most of which I usually end up not redeeming as they're for things I don't want or need.
This is why it will be key for Samsung to offer actual rewards that people can easily redeem if Samsung Rewards is going to push people to use Samsung Pay with increased frequency. We've asked Samsung for more specifics on what kinds of rewards it's offering, and will update this story if we hear back.
To participate in Samsung Rewards, you'll need to activate and register the Samsung Pay app and enter a qualifying credit card. Devices that support Samsung Pay include the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, S6 Edge+ and Note 5 smartphones, as well as Samsung's Gear S2 and Gear S3 smartwatches.
Even while Samsung was unveiling its Samsung Rewards service, Apple announced that its Apple Pay mobile-payment program now lets you make donations to nonprofit groups in the U.S.