You’ll soon be able to use your Samsung smartphone to pay for goods in-store, here’s how it works
Mobile payments have really taken off with the launch of Apple Pay in the UK and it’s been given a further boost with the recent launch of Android Pay. Now it’s Samsung’s turn, with its own Samsung Pay. Originally announced alongside the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung Pay is due to come to the UK in 2016. Here’s everything that I know about it so far.
As with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay works by storing a digital copy of your credit or debit card on your phone. It doesn’t store the actual credit card details, but a secure digital token. Payments all create a unique transaction token, which means that your cards can’t be cloned or stolen, as with a physical card.
First, you’ll need to have one of the latest Samsung handsets to use the technology, which means a Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge Plus or a Galaxy Note 5. The Galaxy A5 2016 model will also support Samsung Pay in the coming weeks. Samsung has not said if older phones will be supported. Next, you’ll need to have a bank or card issuer that supports the service. Samsung told me that there are no technical restrictions and that all banks can support the service, but with the launch still a way away a list of supporting banks has not been announced.
How to pay
Paying with Samsung Pay is very similar to paying with Apple Pay. From the home screen or lock screen, you swipe up from the bottom, running your finger over the fingerprint reader. From there you can choose which card you want to pay with, before tapping your card to the reader and completing the transaction.
Which shops support Samsung Pay?
Any shop that has a contactless reader will support Samsung Pay. Transactions are limited to £20 (rising to £30 in September). Apple Pay supports unlimited transactions if the retailer supports it, but I haven’t been able to find out if the same applies with Samsung Pay.
Additionally, Samsung Pay supports Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST), which means that it should work with any reader that has a mag-strip reader in it. These are extremely common and still exist on UK contactless and chip-and-PIN readers for compatibility with older and foreign cards. That should mean that Samsung Pay will work in more stores than Apple Pay, but I haven’t been able to find out if banks and shops will accept this kind of payment: we won’t know until launch. If MFT is supported, all you’ll have to do is hold the phone up to the MST reader.
When will it come to the UK?
Samsung has announced that Samsung Pay will come to the UK in 2016 though it hasn’t been more specific in its timings. It has, however, just launched in Spain, leading us to hope the UK will soon follow. It’s been long reported that along with Spain, the UK was the other European country set to have Samsung Pay, so this bodes well. Other countries aside from Samsung’s home country of South Korea and the United States set to support Samsung Pay includes Australia, Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, Russia and Signapore.
Samsung cited high smartphone penetration and the digitalisation of the banking sector as factors for why Spain was chosen as the inaugural European country to receive Samsung Pay. On its Spanish launch, Celestino García, Corporate Vice President, Samsung Spain stated “We are proud that Spain is the first European market to introduce Samsung Pay, an innovative new service that we believe will mark a turning point both in Spaniards’ payments behaviour and the evolution of the payments market as a whole.” Now that Android Pay is in the UK, Samsung will need to mobilise its mobile payment system fast, otherwise risk falling too far behind its rivals, so here’s hoping it launches in the UK sooner rather than later.