Samsung is no longer including its mobile payments platform in budget-friendly devices. Whereas budget devices like the Samsung Galaxy J5 and J7 launched with Samsung Pay last year, in 2018 only three of 10 Samsung smartphones featured the payments app – the new Galaxy S9 devices, and the A8.
According to new reports, the strategy is primarily aimed at cutting costs. It costs about $4.50 per unit to include Samsung Pay in a given device, and Samsung has found that its payments platform is not widely used among the teenage and senior demographics opting for budget Samsung phones. With so few users of Samsung’s budget devices actually taking advantage of Samsung Pay, it made more sense for Samsung to leave the feature out.
Beyond cost savings, the strategy could present an opportunity for Samsung to refine the brand of Samsung Pay, positioning it as a prestige feature of the company’s most sophisticated smartphones. Given Samsung’s focus on delivering powerful biometric security on devices like Galaxy S9, which features iris scanning as well as facial and fingerprint recognition, the company could make the claim that it will only allow its payment platform to operate on devices capable of delivering such security.
That’s a position that could prove particularly effective as Samsung’s rival Apple continues to promote the use of Face ID for convenient and secure Apple Pay transactions – especially if the company opts to bring Face ID to all of its new smartphones this autumn as anticipated.