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Samsung Pay's defining feature not included on Galaxy S21 in India

Update: The Galaxy S21 series doesn't support MST in India contrary to previous reports.

Published onJanuary 21, 2021

Samsung Pay Galaxy A70 card identification
  • The just-launched Samsung Galaxy S21 series doesn’t support magnetic stripe technology (MST).
  • Instead, Galaxy S21 owners will need to rely exclusively on NFC payments.
  • There’s no clarity on the regions where the phones still support MST payments.

Update: January 21, 2021 (6:15 AM ET): A few days back we told you that Samsung has listed MST capabilities for the Galaxy S21 series on its South African, Indian, and UK websites. However, contrary to the specs listed on those official pages, tipster Ishan Agarwal now claims that the phones don’t feature MST support, at least in India.

Ishan Agarwal Galaxy S21 MST Tweet

To be fair, Samsung did note on its websites that “payment solutions and available features may vary depending on market, carrier, and service providers.” Some Twitter users are also saying that MST is supported on Galaxy S21 units in South Korea.

We’ll update this article if/when Samsung puts out a comprehensive list of regions where the contactless payment method feature on the new flagships.

Original article: January 14 2021 (4:51 PM ET): One of the defining features of Samsung Pay is its support of magnetic stripe technology, otherwise known as MST. Using MST, a user can conduct a contactless payment with any credit card machine — even if it doesn’t support near-field communication (NFC). This is the biggest difference (and benefit) to using Samsung Pay over a competitor, such as Google Pay.

See also: Google Pay: A beginner’s step-by-step guide

However, Samsung confirmed today that the brand new Samsung Galaxy S21 series will not support MST (via Ron Amadeo on Twitter). This means Galaxy S21 owners will need to rely on NFC support whenever they conduct a contactless payment.

Are you upset about this? Answer the poll below, and then continue on to find out why this is happening.

Are you upset about Samsung removing MST support?

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MST on Samsung Pay is gone, but why?

Samsung sent a statement to Amadeo, which you can see below:

Due to the rapid adoption of near-field communication (NFC) technology by consumers and businesses, beginning with devices launched in 2021, Samsung Pay will focus its support on NFC transactions, across the Galaxy portfolio. While future devices will no longer include magnetic stripe technology (MST), customers with previous, compatible Galaxy devices will be able to continue using Samsung Pay, including MST.

It appears the explanation for this change is simply that NFC is a lot more prevalent now than it was when MST first became available. Therefore, it was likely a simple cost-saving measure that pushed Samsung to remove MST hardware from the Galaxy S21 phones.

This will be upsetting to many Samsung fans, no doubt. While NFC support is certainly easier to find in stores these days, it’s still not everywhere. This could force a small percentage of buyers who love the feature to avoid upgrading their phones.