What you need to know
- The Galaxy S21 doesn't come with support for magnetic stripe technology (MST) in the U.S.
- MST is what Galaxy devices use for contactless payments at terminals that don't support NFC.
- Samsung states that the feature will not come to future devices.
Samsung seems to be stripping quite a few features from its Samsung Pay service. Recently the company abruptly ended its rewards program, at least as it pertains to transactions made through the Samsung Pay app, meaning there's one less avenue for users to accrue points with the service. The most recent change comes along with the new Galaxy S21 and is a bit more significant as it was one of the main features that gave it a leg up over Google Pay.
Android Police confirms that the Galaxy S21 will no longer support magnetic stripe technology (MST), at least in the U.S. If you're unfamiliar, MST is what lets Galaxy smartphones make contactless payments at stores and anywhere that doesn't support NFC. So any payment terminal with a credit card reader could accept payments made with Samsung Pay on a Galaxy smartphone.
Samsung notes the rise in NFC adoption as its reason for leaving the feature behind:
Due to the rapid adoption of near field communication (NFC) technology by consumers and businesses, beginning with devices launched in 2021, Samsung Pay will focus its support on NFC transactions, across the Galaxy portfolio. While future devices will no longer include magnetic stripe technology (MST), customers with previous, compatible Galaxy devices will be able to continue using Samsung Pay, including MST.
It's a bummer that Samsung Pay is losing one of its most notable features, although that does bring Google Pay closer to parity with the app. Samsung Pay may feature deeper integration with the best Samsung phones, but with Google Pay's rewards program and Plex banking features, it just might be a better option for those of you interested in purchasing a Galaxy S21.
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