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Samsung Pay: What is it, how does it work and how do I use it?

Everything you need to know about Samsung Pay, the mobile payments platform which is available on selected Galaxy smartphones and has an advantage over Android Pay and Apple Pay.
March 5, 2016
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Mobile Payments is an ever growing market with OEMs attempting to replace the traditional wallet with your smartphone, but most of them have very similar feature sets. While Android Pay and Apple Pay both use the NFC standard to communicate with payment terminals, this requires retailers to upgrade their hardware to accept contactless payments.

Samsung Pay may support phones from other brands in future

Recognising the need to offer support without requiring retailers to pay for costly hardware upgrades, Samsung has taken a different approach to mobile payments, by encompassing all that Android Pay has to offer and adding additional support. Unlike the current incumbents, Samsung Pay supports MST – Magnetic Secure Transmission – alongside NFC, which means it works with any payment terminal that accepts contactless payments or the more traditional method of swiping your card through the reader.

What is Samsung Pay, how does it work and how do you use it though? Which banks are supported and does MST actually work or is it just a fancy term for a marketing gimmick? To help answer your queries and showcase Samsung Pay in the real world, we attempted to use the payment solution in a series of local shops and national chains.

Samsung Pay expanding to Australia, Singapore and Brazil after the UK, Spain and China

Some already supported mobile payments and others offered the more traditional method of swiping your card and – on paper at least – Samsung Pay should work with any of these. Did it work though? Let’s find out – watch the video below and join us for a tour of Samsung Pay and some examples of where it did – and didn’t – work.

As a reminder, Samsung Pay only works with selected Galaxy smartphones, including the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge.

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On paper, there’s no denying that Samsung Pay has a lot to offer but with less supported banks than Apple Pay or Android Pay, there’s still parts of the service that the Korean OEM needs to improve before it can become truly mainstream. By far the biggest issue is that, while Samsung Pay does support MST, some payment terminals can struggle to decipher the data and in some cases, it can even crash the payment computers.

Where the consumer technology world is headed in 2016

Overall, it’s easy enough for any OEM to offer mobile payments through NFC but in the case of Samsung, the company’s different approach does work for the most part. Yes, there are teething problems and they definitely need to increase the number of supported banks, but while the competition requires upgraded hardware, Samsung Pay’s support for MST means it’s accepted in a much wider range of retailers.

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What do you think of Samsung Pay and do you use it on your Samsung smartphone? What about Android Pay and other mobile payment solutions; do you use any of them and if so, which ones? Let us know your views in the comments below guys!