Samsung didn’t wait long to unveil its take on a debit card. The tech giant has introduced Samsung Money, a SoFi-powered “money management experience” that combines a Mastercard debit card (issued by Bancorp) with a cash management account. Not surprisingly, it integrates tightly with Samsung Pay. You get a virtual card in Pay as soon as you sign up, and can activate the physical card by tapping it. You can check your balance, flag potential fraud, freeze your card or otherwise control your account from an app.
There are benefits, of course. You’ll get Samsung Rewards points for every purchase you make with the card using Samsung Pay, and “loyal” users with over 1,000 points can convert them to cash. You won’t deal with account fees or even some ATM fees (they’re reimbursed at 55,000 locations), and there are promises of “higher-interest earning.” Your account is FDIC insured for up to $1.5 million if something goes wrong. Like with the Apple Card, the physical Samsung card doesn’t included the card number, CVV or other details a thief could use to go on a spending spree.
You’ll still have to wait for Samsung Money despite the big announcement, unfortunately — it’s still coming to the US “later this summer.”
As with Apple Card and Google’s expected debit card, there’s a conspicuous strategy at work. Money lets Samsung dive further into services at a time when smartphone sales are slowing down or shrinking. It’s not clear what (if any) revenue Samsung directly collects from Money, but it could at least help the company’s hardware business by persuading card owners to buy another Galaxy phone the next time they’re due for an upgrade.
And like rival services, this is something of a gamble. Unlike the Samsung Pay Cash prepaid card, Money is a substantial financial commitment. This could be your main purchasing account if you want it to be. It’s not certain how many people will want to trust Samsung with their finances or lock themselves into buying its phones — Apple’s credit card is linked to a unique platform, while Samsung is one Android vendor among many. Still, this could be compelling if you’re tired of conventional banking and want a payment card that’s deeply integrated with a non-Apple platform.