Samsung Pay revealed: company takes on Google and Apple in battle to replace wallets

Samsung's fightback comes with features that not even Apple can match

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The Independent Tech

Samsung’s own way to pay with a mobile phone instead of a credit card was revealed in detail today. It’s not coming to the UK just yet, though with luck it’ll be here by the year’s end. And it has some features that rival systems, including Apple Pay, can’t match.

Most importantly, it works with most kinds of credit card reader, not just the contactless card reader needed to make rivals work. It’s because instead of sending out an NFC signal, as Apple Pay does, it additionally uses a system called MST which fools a regular card reader into thinking there’s a magnetic stripe card present.

I’ve seen this being demonstrated and it’s pretty effective. It means that Samsung Pay has a much wider compatibility, especially places like the US where contactless card readers are still comparatively under-represented. Which is why America gets it soonest.

Even better, it means that the credit card you’re using in this virtual way doesn’t have to be contactless-enabled, either. As with Apple Pay, it’s easy to set up the card so that the phone can pay with it. It will work on the latest Samsung Galaxy handsets with a full list of suitable phones to be revealed soon.

It uses the phone’s fingerprint sensor as its security and you can pre-arm the app to work up to 20 seconds before you need it. This is handy if you want the swiftest recognition of the card, when using public transport, say. Note, though, that Apple Pay will stay live for three times as long, 60 seconds, which may be more useful in a crowded Tube station.

The system’s success will depend, for consumers, on its ease of use. One of the best things about Apple Pay is that it works slickly and flawlessly most of the time. But it’s those moments when it doesn't work, when a long queue is forming behind you, that you begin to feel it’s not worth it.

Providing Samsung can deliver reliability, speed and simplicity, this will be a real boon for those quick payments when you don’t want to forage for your credit card.

And the facility to pay at pretty much every terminal is a real boon.

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