Apple Pay and other tech devices which use near-field communication (NFC) as a form of payment seem to be growing in popularity. With trendy commercials and ease of use, Apple Pay has received an increasing amount of attention from the media and consumers alike. However, as many users of Apple Pay have noticed, NFC readers at checkout counters are sporadically available. Samsung recognized this issue and aimed to capitalize with a payment system of their own: Samsung Pay. As Samsung’s most recent commercials for the Galaxy S7 have demonstrated, Samsung Pay is superior to Apple Pay due to its wider acceptance. So, what makes Samsung Pay better than Apple Pay? The answer is its use of MST (magnetic source transmission).
Highlighted in several recent articles on tech-sites such as CNET, MST is similar to NFC. However, instead of requiring infrastructure updates, MST supposedly works at nearly all existing tap-to-pay terminals. MST accomplishes this by emitting a magnetic signal from a metal coil within the phone which essentially copies that of a magnetic strip on a credit card. This may seem like rudimentary technology compared to NFC, and in fact, it is. This is why Samsung Pay has a faster growth curve than Apple Pay. In order to provide a better service, Samsung adopted inferior technology. Their reason for doing so is quite simple, and that’s to be more functional.
Although Samsung adopted older technology, they didn’t forget to include NFC capabilities as well. Due to Samsung’s adoption of both NFC and MST, the company promises Samsung Pay to work at 90% of retailers. This percentage of acceptance surpasses Apple Pay and other NFC-only paying devices due to the lack of updated credit card terminals. This lag in updated payment terminals is primarily accredited to the lack of motivation for retailers to upgrade. In fact, there is very little motivation for current retailers to update their terminals when considering the cost of doing so. It would, however, make sense for retailers if phones were replacing wallets, but they’re not. Currently, NFC technology is a luxury for consumers, not a necessity for retailers.
Although these articles provide sufficient information on Samsung Pay and MST, something I thing they overlooked was the growing trend in NFC capable terminals. While as of now it is not offered in the majority of retail stores, the percentage is growing. Considering many stores update their payment terminals every few years anyway, you can be sure that the current and future wave of new terminals will all offer NFC. While Samsung may have the upper hand as of now, NFC payment will soon be just as readily offered.
Savvides, Lexy. "Samsung Pay: What You Need to Know (FAQ)." CNET. 23 Mar. 2016. Web. 29 Mar. 2016. <http://www.cnet.com/news/samsung-pay-what-you-need-to-know-faq/>.
Villas-Boas, Antonio. "Samsung Has a Key Technological Advantage That Makes It Much Better to Pay with Your Phone." TechInsider. 23 Sept. 2015. Web. 27 Mar. 2016. <http://www.techinsider.io/how-magnetic-secure-transmission-works-on-samsung-pay-2015-9>.