At this point, you may have heard a lot about Samsung Pay. However, if you do not follow the Android world as much, you may be wondering what is it. Samsung Pay is a mobile payment system released by the Korean giant which allows you to pay for almost anything using your (Samsung) phone instead of the physical credit card. Previously launched in South Korea, the system has just landed in the U.S. and here are some questions to help with your doubts.
What is needed in order to use it?
In order to use Samsung Pay, you must have one of Samsung's latest flagships: Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note 5. When the Gear S2 is available, the payment system is also set to be compatible with the smartwatch, but will only work on NFC terminals.
You also need to be on one of these four U.S. carriers: US Cellular, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile.
As for banks and credit cards, for now you must have a Visa, American Express or MasterCard card from Bank of America, Citibank or US Bank.
Where can it be used
Here's the good thing: it is compatible with almost all point of sale system, which means you can use it in most places that accept credit cards with magnetic stripe (you swipe your card), NFC payments and EMV terminals for credit cards with chips. However, it won't work in machines that require you to insert the card, such as ATMs and gas stations.
According to tests from CNET, the system worked well with terminals like Square, NFC terminals from retailers such as Trader Joe's and Walgreens, and regular magnetic readers across smaller stores. Additionally, in some places you may need to sign a receipt.
How to set it up
The setup process is quite simples. First of all, you must have your fingerprints registered in your device. If you haven't done so, just go to settings and put your fingers to work. After updating your phone in order to get the app, open it and the camera will launch for you to scan a credit card, making sure the numbers on the screen match the ones in the card. The service then will send you an SMS or an email from your bank in order to verify the card. That's it
How to make a payment
As said before, you can use it in almost any place that accepts credit cards. When it's time to pay, just swipe your finger up from the small Samsung Pay bar in the lock screen, above the Home button. Then, the phone will require you to scan your fingerprint and to hold the back of the device against the payment terminal. Done. The system also works with a PIN if you are somehow unable to use a fingerprint.
After the payment is processed, you will get a notification containing the name of the place where the purchase was made and the amount. This information can later be accessed from the Pay app.
How does it works
This is one of the most interesting parts of Samsung Pay. On NFC terminals, it's simple: it works through NFC. However, you may be wondering how does it works on magnetic readers, since you can't swipe your Galaxy Note 5 on that tiny slit. The technology to make this magic is called Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) and the phone emits a magnetic signal that emulates what your card would send to the reader. It was made possible because earlier this year Samsung bought a company called LoopPay that developed this technology. So, in other words, it makes the magnetic reader think that you are swiping a credit card – that's why you need to hold the phone's back against the reader.
Is it secure?
Yes. Samsung Pay won't store the actual numbers of your credit cards, using a token instead. Every time a payment is made, the phone will send to the terminal two pieces of information: a 16-digit token that is tied with your card and a one-time code generated by the phone's encryption key. In simpler words, it's safer than if you let your card fall and someone swipes it somewhere before you notice and call your bank.
What if the phone is lost?
Samsung Pay cannot be used without your fingerprint or the PIN code. So, if your phone is lost or stolen, it won't be possible to use the system. Another security layer comes from Samsung's Find My Mobile, where you can remotely erase any data on the phone, including saved credit cards on Samsung Pay. So, don't forget to register your device on this link.
Can it be used without Wi-Fi or cellular network?
Yes, Samsung Pay can be used even if you don't have any internet connection available. However, it has a limit of 10 transactions.
Does it accept returns?
Yes, you can make returns using Samsung Pay in the same way you pay, by holding the phone's back against the reader. For security reasons, you will also need to match the payment information on the receipt with the last four digits of your virtual credit card used in the transaction.
What is the difference from Android Pay
The main difference is that Samsung Pay is a payment system created by Samsung, for Samsung phones, and Android Pay has been launched by Google and is available to a wider range of devices. Samsung Pay uses fingerprint authentication and is accepted in more places since it can be used in magnetic stripe readers. Android Pay, on the other hand, will work only with NFC-enabled terminals. However, Samsung Pay accepts only credit and debit cards and Android Pay can also be used with loyalty and gift cards.
What about other phones?
For now, Samsung Pay will only work with the latest flagships from the Korean giant phone maker – Galaxy Note 5, S6, S6 edge and S6 edge+. However, the company has hinted that it plans to make the system available to a wider range of Samsung devices in the future.
So, what do you think of Samsung Pay? Will you be using it with your devices? If you got any other question, do not hesitate to comment right bellow.