Do you remember the days of swiping your credit card at a store to pay for purchases? It feels like those times are long gone now that COVID-19 has changed the way we live and shop. These days, physical credit cards can be an afterthought — it’s all about digital and contactless payments instead.
When you need to send money to friends or family, you have the option to use a peer-to-peer form of payment. Tap or click here to find out how.
But, peer-to-peer payments aren’t the only way to avoid cash or credit cards. Most stores can accept contactless payment methods in person, meaning you can complete a transaction without ever touching a POS system. Let’s take a look at two of the major players, Samsung and Apple.
Perks, rewards and other features of the Samsung Money card
One of the most well-known contactless credit cards is the Apple Card, a Mastercard credit card issued by Goldman Sachs for Apple. This card can be used without ever having to touch a physical card; it’s stored in a digital wallet and works just like a regular credit card — but without the need for swiping.
The new Samsung Money by SoFi credit card was announced recently — right in time for an increased need for contactless payments — and it works much in the manner that the Apple Card does. Both of these “Big Tech” cards can help you complete transactions in a safe, contactless way, but which card reigns supreme?
If you’re a fan of digital wallets, you may be familiar with Samsung Pay — Samsung’s virtual wallet that allows you to store and use your credit cards from the secure “wallet” on your phone. Well, the Samsung Money card is a mobile-first money management “experience” that combines a Mastercard debit card with a cash management account, and it lives right in your digital wallet.
This card works within your Samsung Pay wallet and offers rewards and higher-interest earning cash management — something most debit cards don’t do — all in a secure digital format. There are two cash management account options with Samsung Money: individual or joint, and neither option comes with extra fees.
It’s everything you’d expect from a virtual debit card: You’ll be given access to your digital version of the card right after you sign up for an account and it will be available for use immediately. You can also request a physical card, which you activate by tapping it with your phone.
There are plenty of perks that come with using the Samsung Money card, too. It comes with an app so you can check your balance, flag potential fraud and make other changes to control your account.
You’ll receive ATM fee reimbursement at more than 55,000 locations in the U.S. Plus, you’ll earn interest on the money in your account and you can earn Samsung Rewards points by using your card.
Here’s how the Samsung Rewards points work: You’ll receive a specific number of Samsung Rewards points for every purchase you make with the card using Samsung Pay, and when you’ve accumulated over 1,000 points, you can convert them to cash that’s added to your account.
Your account is also FDIC insured for up to $1.5 million in case there are issues, and if you opt to use the physical Samsung card, it won’t include the card numbers, CVV, or other details that make it simple to steal card information. You don’t have to use the physical card, though — if the retailer takes virtual payments, you can simply use your phone to complete the purchase.
What are the negatives?
There are a couple of downsides to this card, though. The exact amount of “higher interest” you’ll earn hasn’t been specified by Samsung yet, so it’s unclear right now how much interest you’ll earn on the money in your account.
You’ll also need to have a Galaxy smartphone to use this card — it’s not compatible with other phones — and this card isn’t a credit card. It’s a debit card, which means if there’s no money in your account, you can’t use it.
Still, even with the potential negatives, the Samsung Money card is a simple, no-frills way of earning rewards on the purchases you make, and when you add the rewards component to the fact that this account is interest-earning, it makes for some top-notch perks — especially for a debit card.
Perks, rewards and other features of the Apple Card
The other digital card option for smartphone users is the Apple Card, a credit card that is issued by Goldman Sachs to iPhone users who qualify. Unlike the Samsung Money card, the Apple Card is a credit card, which means it has strict rules for being approved and you’ll have to meet the requirements that Apple and Goldman Sachs have in place to qualify.
Other than the debit vs. credit card component, the Apple Card works quite similarly to the Samsung Money card. Once you’re approved, you’re given immediate access to a virtual credit card that’s stored in your Apple Wallet.
You can request a physical card — which is made of metal, by the way — and as with the Samsung Money card, the Apple Card doesn’t include a credit card number, CVV, or other information on the physical card. It works off of a chip or swipe system instead.
And, as with the Samsung Money card, you don’t have to use your physical Apple Card to make purchases. If a retailer accepts virtual payments you can make them with your iPhone and Apple Wallet. You can also use your Apple Wallet to make purchases online at retailers that accept these types of virtual payments.
Apple Card also has a daily cashback rewards system that offers a higher cash-back rate than most cards. Unsurprisingly, this system rewards you with a bonus for making Apple purchases and using Apple Pay to pay for things.
You’ll earn 3% back on Apple products at some major retailers when you use Apple Pay, and 2% back when you use Apple Pay via your Apple Watch or iPhone at other retailers. You’ll earn 1% on purchases made with your physical Apple Card.
Another major perk of this card is that it is fee-free: it doesn’t charge late payment fees, foreign transaction fees, or an annual fee. The app for the card can also help you budget and track your spending, and you can use it to see how much interest you’re being charged on your purchases.
What are the negatives?
There are downsides to this card, though. We’ve touched on a few, but it’s important to reiterate that this card is a credit card, not a debit card, which limits the number of people who will qualify for it.
It’s also only available for iPhone users, so Android users who are still Apple fans in some form or fashion are out of luck. And unlike the Samsung Money card, which earns you interest on your money, this card charges interest on your purchases if they aren’t paid in full by the due date.
How to apply for Samsung’s Money card
If you’re itching to apply for the Samsung Money card, we have some bad news: this card isn’t available yet. It won’t be available for U.S. consumers until later this summer, so you’ll have to wait a bit before you can apply.
Once it is available, you’ll apply for the Samsung Money card through the Samsung Pay app. If you want to make those money moves now, you can be proactive and sign up for the waitlist by visiting the Samsung site, which you can access by clicking here.
When it comes to which card wins, as with many tech questions it comes down to whether you’re an Apple or Android fan. If you have an iPhone you’ll most likely prefer the Apple Card and if you have an Android you’ll probably opt for the Samsung Money card.
Either way, you can’t really go wrong as both offer contactless payments. And that’s extremely important in these strange times.