Samsung Pay is similar to Apple Pay and Google Pay. It is a platform for Samsung devices - smartphones and wearables - that allows you to pay for goods and services by tapping your Samsung device near a contactless payment terminal or authorising an online payment, rather than using cash or credit cards.
Here's everything you need to know, including what banks are supported and how it works.
Samsung Pay: What do I need?
The Samsung Pay platform is baked into Samsung Galaxy devices, which includes the company's smartphones and wearables. You can find the full list of compatible devices below.
To use Samsung Pay, you'll need to download and install the Samsung Pay app on your compatible phone, register compatible cards and accounts and the platform will draw directly from these chosen sources when making a payment.
What Samsung devices are compatible with Samsung Pay?
Below is a list of all the Samsung smartphones that currently support Samsung Pay:
- Galaxy Note 10+ 5G
- Galaxy Note 10+
- Galaxy Note 10
- Galaxy S10 5G
- Galaxy S10+
- Galaxy S10
- Galaxy S10e
- Galaxy Note 9
- Galaxy S9+
- Galaxy S9
- Galaxy Note 8
- Galaxy S8+
- Galaxy S8
- Galaxy S7 edge
- Galaxy S7
- Galaxy S6 edge+
- Galaxy S6 edge
- Galaxy S6
- Galaxy A70
- Galaxy A50
- Galaxy A40
- Galaxy A20e
- Galaxy A8
- Galaxy A6
- Galaxy A3
- Galaxy A5 (2017)
This is the current list of Samsung wearables that have Samsung Pay on board:
- Galaxy Watch Active 2
- Galaxy Watch Active
- Galaxy Watch
- Galaxy Watch 4G
- Gear S3
- Gear Sport
Samsung Pay: How does it work?
When using a phone: by swiping up from the bottom of the display, the Samsung Pay app will launch and your default card will appear along with a message to authenticate a payment with their fingerprint, or the iris scanner on compatible devices.
If a different card is needed, a simple left or right swipe will bring up others stored in your phone.
Once the payment has been biometrically authorised, the phone tells you to tap it onto the contactless payment reader and bingo, a payment is made via NFC (near field communication).
Samsung Pay: More than NFC
Samsung Pay offers more than just NFC in some regions - such as the US - by also offering a mobile wallet technology called MST (Magnetic Strip Technology), which it acquired when it bought LoopPay.
MST allows a contactless payment to be made with terminals that do not feature NFC readers (mostly outside the UK), which opens up a lot more retailers to the payment tech.
It can also send the payment information to conventional terminals in stores that have the old-fashioned magnetic strip instead.
A two-step payment process works like so: LoopPay's app manages and securely stores all your payment cards (including credit, debit, loyalty, and gift cards) on a mobile device, while the LoopPay device (LoopPay Fob, ChargeCase, Card, or CardCase) processes your payment at the checkout as if you had swiped your card like usual.
There is no danger of paying twice as the phone will prioritise an NFC signal if it finds one, while MST is passive and will only be utilised if no other contactless payment signal is found first.
Samsung Pay: Compatible banks and service providers
These are a few of the compatible banks and services supported by Samsung Pay in the US:
- American Express
- JP Morgan Chase
- Bank of America
- US Bank
These are a few of the compatible banks and services supported by Samsung Pay in the UK:
- American Express
- First Direct
- M&S Bank
- Co-op Bank
- Starling Bank
- John Lewis Finance
Samsung Pay: Payment limits
The payment limit is set by the bank or vendor, not by Samsung, so is different in different regions - not a fixed £30 maximum per transaction, as with contactless cards.
On the whole though, you will not be restricted to a specific limit in the UK, just like you aren't with Apple Pay.
Samsung Pay: How secure is it?
In terms of security, Samsung Pay details are protected by Samsung's Knox real-time hacking surveillance and rooting prevention, and no card details are stored on either a Samsung server or the device itself.
Just like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay uses tokenisation. Card payments are made secure by creating a number or token that replaces your card details. This token is stored within a secure element chip on your device, and when a payment is initiated, the token is passed to the retailer or merchant. The retailer therefore never has direct access to your card details.
In addition Samsung Pay offers ARM TrustZone to further protect transaction information from attacks.
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