At the Samsung Unpacked event today, Samsung formally announced the release of Samsung Pay, its own mobile payment solution stemming from its acquisition of LoopPay
in February. Launching first in South Korea, Samsung Pay is expected to
be available in the US on September 28 and will come bundled with the
Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Galaxy Note 5; it will also be downloadable to
two older but-still-new Galaxy devices: the S6 and S6 Edge.
Other than the fact that it might potentially beat Android Pay to public release—though really, who knows at this point?—the
only solid differentiator that Samsung Pay seems to have going for it
is its ability to send payment information over MST (Magnetic Secure
Transmission), a technology that predates NFC and is supported by a much
larger subset of older card readers. This could potentially boost
Samsung Pay’s acceptance rate, since it could be used in places without
the NFC-equipped readers required for Android Pay to work.
Samsung’s presentation highlighted the universal acceptability of
Samsung Pay (leaning on MST). The company also claims that it’s the
first mobile payment solution to come to market with support for
store-branded credit cards, store membership cards, and gift cards. Card
information is protected with Samsung’s “KNOX” technology (the same
tech Samsung has been toying with for dual-role work/home devices for
years) and is accessed with a fingerprint scan.
Wired had a brief hands-on with Samsung Pay
and came away with positive things to say about the user experience;
we’re expecting to get some more information in our own hands-on time
once today’s event is over.