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Samsung explains how Samsung Pay will work

The new Samsung Pay platform will allow customers to buy goods with their smartphone. The company has explained how its mobile payment system will work.

Published onMarch 19, 2015


The announcement of Samsung Pay arrived as mobile payments look set to become an increasingly important and lucrative business, with Apple unveiling its own payment system and a revamped Google Wallet, and possibly an Android Pay platform, also rumored to be in the works. If you’re curious about how Samsung Pay will work in practise, Samsung has dished out details on a few more specifics.

Hardware wise, Samsung Pay makes use of both wireless Near Field Communication (NFC) and more traditional magstripe credit card readers, through a technology called Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST). NFC is the newer of the two and can be found on newer terminals and pay points. It is also used for data transfer between phones and connecting to NFC tags.

Magstripe is a more established technology in the retail market and is used at most payment terminals in shops and restaurants. This means that nearly all stores will be able to accept payments through Samsung Pay, without the retailer having to upgrade to a new technology. Samsung believes that 90% of retailers support at least one of these methods.

On the payment side, both NFC and MST use the same credit or debit card details stored on the mobile device. Visa and MasterCard accounts are already supported and Samsung is partnering up with additional banks and credit companies. Storing card data digitally sounds risky, but Samsung Pay replaces sensitive card data with a unique, secure token for each purchase, to help prevent fraud.

To make a purchase, users pull up the Samsung Pay app by swiping up from the home button and select a registered card to transfer the cash. Transactions are then authenticated using the fingerprint scanner, which acts as a second safety net to help prevent fraud. It all sounds simple enough.

Samsung Pay will launch in the United States and South Korea this summer, for free, following a firmware update to the Galaxy s6 and S6 Edge. Europe and China are set to follow afterwards.