With Samsung Pay expected to roll out in the UK later this year, it's worth brushing up on the basics.
Samsung Pay is coming to the UK! Well, technically it's been coming to the UK for the past several months, with the official announcement coming back at Mobile World Congress in February. We still don't know many of the specifics when it comes to the British launch of Samsung's payment service, but we can keep you informed on everything we know so far.
When will Samsung Pay launch in the UK?
Right now Samsung Pay is currently only available in the United States, China and South Korea. The service is set to expand to more places, including the UK, soon. However Samsung hasn't provided any firm timetable.
When Samsung Pay becomes available in the UK, an over-the-air update on supported phones will enable the service.
Is Samsung Pay the same as Android Pay?
No. Android Pay is Google's own payment service which works on all Android phones running Android 4.4 KitKat with NFC (near field communication) capabilities.
Samsung Pay is a different service owned and operated by Samsung, and the technology behind it is slightly different. While Android Pay uses NFC — like a regular contactless credit or debit card — Samsung Pay can use both NFC and another technology called MST, which helps it work in more places.
So how does Samsung Pay work?
Samsung Pay uses NFC like Android Pay and Apple Pay — but it'll also work with regular magnetic readers thanks to a technology called MST.
In addition to working with contactless payment terminals (just like Android Pay, Apple Pay or your contactless credit card), Samsung has a unique trick up its sleeve in the form of MST — Magnetic Secure Transmission.
MST — a feature of supported Samsung phones — allows Samsung Pay to work with just about any traditional magnetic card swiper by holding the back of the phone over the swiper. (After first authenticating with your fingerprint, of course.)
That means Samsung has a distinct advantage over its rivals, in that it's able to boast support "just about everywhere" due to the ubiquity of magnetic credit card readers.
Samsung Pay can also work with newer contactless payment terminals, which are becoming increasingly common throughout the UK. With these, you'll just hold your phone over the contactless area on the terminal, as you would a credit card.
Which Samsung devices are supported?
Supported phones and watches include:
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
- Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
- Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (not released in the UK)
- Samsung Galaxy S6 Active (not released in the UK)
- Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
- Samsung Galaxy S6
- Samsung Gear S2
Which UK banks will support Samsung Pay
No banks have been announced just yet, but it's safe to assume Samsung will be courting the same major high street banks as Apple and Google. For what it's worth, Android Pay launched with eight major banks onboard — Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, M&S, MBNA and Nationwide.
Whatever happens, expect Samsung to continue adding banks to Samsung Pay in the months following launch to plug any gaps.
Will there be a limit to Samsung Pay in the UK?
Samsung hasn't announced details of payment limits yet, however it's possible payment limits could line up with Android Pay — up to £30 without using your fingerprint, with higher amounts requiring fingerprint authentication.
How much you'll be able to pay may also depend on your bank and the merchant.
Is Samsung Pay secure to use?
Samsung Pay is arguably more secure than using a credit card, since your card details are never provided to the merchant. Instead, Samsung Pay uses a secure token generated by Samsung in order to authenticate your payment. This is true whether you're using Samsung Pay over NFC of MST.
It's debatable whether any kind of electronic payment can be completely safe and secure, but there's nothing inherently risky about paying with your phone — assuming you take sensible precautions and protect it in the same way you would a physical credit card.
Will you use Samsung Pay in the UK? Hit the comments and let us know!