Why does Samsung Pay still need to be tested in South Africa?

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Samsung Pay will enter an open-beta test of sorts later this week when Samsung South Africa and Absa invite select customers to try out the mobile payment system.

The payment application was first launched in 2015 in South Korea and has been launched in other regions slowly since then. Because there are so many regions using Samsung Pay one might assume that with three years of experience under its belt, Samsung could simply flick a switch and turn Samsung Pay on.

While that is technically true, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make paying for your dinner with your smartphone possible.

Training is a big part of rolling out Samsung Pay in South Africa, Samsung South Africa director: product and marketing, Justin Hume, tells us.

“We’ve been engaging with a number of core partners and stakeholders in the process of training to ensure that at point of sale there is a great customer experience,” adds Hume.

Samsung South Africa as well as its partners will embark on mass training when the open-beta is launched to insure that when the service is launched to the public at large at the end of August/beginning of September, paying with your phone is a smooth experience.

The director tells us that a point of sale clerk simply might not know that folks can now tap their smartphone to pay but he is confident that, with training this small stumbling block can be overcome.

Another reason Samsung Pay needs testing, particularly beta testing, is to make sure everything works as well as it should.

“The technical side of it is running really smoothly. Really it’s now about putting load through the system. There isn’t any sort of theoretical reason why the test should be problematic but we need to test it before putting it out into the public domain,” explains Hume.

The director also says that adding the ability to earn loyalty card points was also tricky to get right.

You see, the barcode scanner at most points of sale can’t read a smartphone screen so Samsung has a clever trick to fool the scanner. “What we actually do is we simulate a beam that transfers your loyalty card data back to the scanner,” explains Hume. “So while it might not be able to pick up the image of the card it can still get the data across.”

As one might imagine there are a number of moving parts that make Samsung Pay usable and Samsung South Africa is intent on making the experience note only usable but simple and convenient.

Aside from “this week”, we don’t know the exact day Samsung Pay will be available for Absa customers. Take note that only some customers will be invited to test the service though Samsung says customers will also be able to apply to be part of the beta test via its website.

Absa customers looking to take part in this test will need to download the Samsung Pay app on a Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+, Note8, S8, S8+, S7, S7 Edge or A8.


Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.