Apple Pay launched to great fanfare in the UK earlier this year, but it may be late-to-the-party Samsung with its Samsung Pay system that ends up having the last money-moving laugh.
Discussed at length in the UK today alongside the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and Galaxy Note 5, the wireless payment option makes use of two different technologies – Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) and NFC. NFC we're already familiar with thanks to edit and travel cards, as well as using it when syncing up wireless speakers. It is also the primary method of transmission and communication for Apple Pay. But MST is the real key that sets Samsung's system apart, as it's so ubiquitous in the UK already.
How Samsung Pay Works
As we described earlier this year:
When you open the Samsung Pay app, you select a card, and authenticate with [a Samsung phone's] built-in fingerprint sensor. Then, in what I'm going to just describe as tech magic, the app generates a signal that even old card swipe terminals can recognise. This is awesome because now you can pay with your phone anywhere that isn't some cash-only establishment.
So, basically, Samsung Pay should be accepted everywhere except for car boot sales, whereas Apple Pay only plays nicely with NFC enabled terminals. Mag-stripe swipers are basically everywhere, so most merchants won't even need to upgrade their payment terminals. Combined with NFC, straight off the bat this gives Samsung Pay far wider reach than Apple Pay.
Compatible with multiple cards (and an Android Pay wallet, if you're already using that), Samsung Pay also taps into Samsung's Knox security system, which offers real-time hack protection checks, preventing rooting which could undermine the integrity of your bank details.
How this will work with chip-and-PIN cards is uncertain, but the service will be going live shortly in the US and Korea, and likely in the UK alongside the launches of the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and Galaxy Note 5. Samsung Galaxy S6 owners should be able to take advantage, too.