Galaxy S21: Samsung Pay loses an ultra-practical feature

Samsung Pay on the Galaxy S21 loses access to Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST), the feature that hijacked the magnetic stripe reader from non-compatible payment terminals to validate payments. S21 owners can now only pay at merchants equipped with NFC terminals.

Galaxy S21 Samsung Pay
Credit: Unsplash

Samsung Pay is available on all Samsung Galaxy smartphones since S6. It is as you know a contactless payment system which mainly relies on NFC. But until the Galaxy S21 the system could also validate payments via Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology.

MST is a technology that operates the magnetic stripe readers of payment terminals which are not compatible with NFC technology. The smartphone emits a magnetic field when approaching the card reader slot, which makes the terminal believe that the merchant is swiping a payment card.

Samsung Pay says goodbye to Magnetic Secure Transmission on Galaxy S21s

The MST system is far from perfect : It is not as reliable as NFC, and may be reluctant to work on the first try with some machines. Moreover this system is useless at merchants who do not accept payment via magnetic stripe reading, which is generally the norm in France.

Samsung believes adoption of NFC in payment terminals is now sufficient. The feature is still available on some recent smartphones like the Galaxy S20 FE, but any Galaxy smartphones that Samsung will launch now will have to be content with Samsung Pay payments via NFC.

“Due to the rapid adoption of NFC technology by consumers and businesses, Samsung Pay will now only support payments via NFC across the entire Galaxy smartphone portfolio, starting with devices launched in 2021”Samsung explains in a press release.

Read also: Samsung Pay Cash – Samsung joins forces with Mastercard to launch a virtual bank card

And to specify: “Although future devices no longer include MST technology, consumers with older compatible Galaxy devices will be able to continue using Samsung Pay, including through MST”. Technology Magnetic Secure Transmission was the only real originality of the Samsung Pay payment system compared to the competition, notably from Google Pay and the market leader, Apple Pay.

Source: The Verge