REVIEW: I tried Samsung Pay in a pub and a supermarket -- and it didn't work

Samsung Pay with Samsung Gear smartwatch. (Source: Samsung)

Samsung Pay last week celebrated one year of operations in Australia.

In that time the service has done well to sign up Westpac, Citibank, American Express and 38 smaller banks and credit unions.

I have a Samsung smartphone and, even more importantly, a Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch. I also have credit and debit cards with Westpac, Citibank and a credit union, so the one-year anniversary seemed like the perfect time to try the contactless digital wallet.

I was especially excited to use my watch to make payments, as this would mean if I went for a walk or a run I could duck into a shop or a café without worrying about carrying my wallet.

Registering the credit and debit cards into Samsung Pay was very easy. Some devices have the capability to input the card details by holding it closely to the phone (same as contactless payments) but if that’s not available, you can let the phone read the card number using the camera.

For extra security, both Westpac and Citibank sent out confirmation codes via SMS to ensure that the actual card owner was registering on Samsung Pay.

All good so far.

The first trial was at my local pub to buy dinner at the bistro for me and the wife. I said I would pay by credit card and the cashier inputted the amount owed. When I then presented my wrist, the bistro attendant squealed in delight.

“No way! You are going to use a watch to pay? No way!” she said.

As the point-of-sale machine beeped in recognition, I have to admit I felt pretty smug. But in a matter of seconds the self-satisfied smile was wiped off my face.

Card error. Yikes.

A second attempt came back with the same result. The smartwatch was recognised with a beep but the payment was rejected with the not-very-descriptive “card error”.

With my tail between my legs, I was forced to pull out my credit card. Like some sort of barbarian.

Later I checked in the Samsung app that all my card details had registered correctly. Westpac had acknowledged with the SMS confirmation earlier anyway, so I really shouldn’t have had to worry about that.

A few days later, I tried again at the local Woolworths supermarket. Rejected again.

Sydney-based Chemist Warehouse pharmacist Hansel Yuen told Business Insider that he’s personally seen multiple customers encounter issues attempting to pay with Samsung Pay.

“We see Samsung Pay not work a fair bit… but we’ve never had any trouble with Apple Pay.”

Business Insider has contacted Samsung Australia but had not heard back at the time of writing.

Have you had any issues with Samsung Pay? How about Apple Pay and Android Pay? Tell us about your experiences.

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