Trade Resources Industry Views What Is Samsung Pay? Supported UK Banks, Compatible Devices and How to Use It

What Is Samsung Pay? Supported UK Banks, Compatible Devices and How to Use It

Samsung Pay, the South Korean firm's in-house Apple Pay and Android Pay rival, has finally landed in Blighty. Here's what you need to know about using Samsung Pay in the UK.

You might have forgotten about Samsung Pay, particularly if you live in the UK, where the service has been on the horizon for aeons withouts actually launching.

Still, now it's here, Samsung's mobile payment system has a number of interesting features to recommend it – and some limitations.

Here's a rundown of what Samsung Pay is, who can use it, and when it will be coming to a (Samsung) phone near you.

As expected, Samsung Pay landed in the UK on May 16, though some users are reporting teething troubles, including problems downloading, setting up, and using it.

This is likely to be an early-stage issue only, though, and we'd expect things to be ironed out sooner rather than later.

Samsung Pay might have decent compatibility with retail outlets, but one of its inherent limitations is obviously that it only works with Samsung devices.

There's a growing range of compatible handsets, though, like this year's excellent Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

Plenty of older phones are supported, too.

Samsung wearables also now support Samsung Pay, namely the Gear S2 and Gear S3 smartwatches.

How to download Samsung Pay

Provided you've got a compatible Samsung handset, tablet or wearable, all you need to do to download Samsung Pay is head to the Galaxy Apps Store on your device and search for 'Samsung Pay'.

That's all there is to it.

Which banks support Samsung Pay in the UK?

Not as many as over in the US, at least not yet. Across the pon, a number of major banks and credit companies support Samsung Pay, including Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, PNC, and US Bank.

More usefully for those of us in other territories, both MasterCard and Visa support the standard, as does American Express, although it's not yet clear how widespread support will be in the UK.

So far, Samsung has confirmed that the following banks will support Samsung Pay in the UK.

Nationwide (at UK launch)Santander (at UK launchHSBC (coming soon)AMEX (coming soon)first direct (coming soon)M&S Bank (coming soon)

Crucially, Samsung Pay is also TfL-ready at launch – and comes with a bespoke 'transport card' feature. Put simply, set up an eligible payment card with Samsung Pay and you'll be able to use all TfL and select National Rail services within London, just by tapping your phone against the card reader.

By way of contrast, Android Pay requires the device's screen to be on, while Apple Pay asks you to verify your identity via fingerprint or PIN, so this sounds like a potential selling point for Sammy Pay.

Wait, what's Samsung Pay again?

Samsung Pay is the mobile payment system provided by the world's biggest smartphone manufacturer, Samsung, and a rival to the likes of Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Sure enough, Samsung Pay works in much the same way. Your debit and credit card information is stored securely on your Samsung phone. You can then make payments at shops and other outlets simply by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to launch the app, authenticating with your fingerprint, and holding your phone near the payment point.

Like Apple Pay and Android Pay, Samsung Pay uses Mobile Digital Enablement System tokenisation to secure your payments. This means that your account details are never shared directly with retailers. Rather, they receive unique tokens generated by Samsung Pay for each specific payment. This basically means it's nigh-on impossible for your account details to be swiped in the process of using Samsung Pay.

Samsung's system primarily uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to facilitate these payments, just like Apple Pay and Android Pay, which relies on shops using up to date contactless payment technology. But Samsung also has an ace up its sleeve in the form of LoopPay.

Samsung Pay's LoopPay idea

Back in February 2015, it emerged that Samsung had purchased a company called LoopPay.

LoopPay is a US-based mobile wallet solution that offers a number of wallet-replacing devices, from mobile cases to key fobs. But its primary innovation – and what Samsung was clearly most interested in – was the way its systems worked even with traditional payment points.

While other mobile payment systems work only with the latest contactless payment technology, requiring retailers to splash out on expensive new gear, LoopPay can offer mobile payments even with old school card-swiping mag stripe systems.

Its Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology emulates the same magnetic field change as a regular card payment, fooling the system into thinking it's dealing with a regular card. The end result: futuristic mobile payments using ancient technology.

Samsung wasted no time integrating this into Samsung Pay, which means it has gained an estimated 90% retail support in one fell swoop.

What about online payments?

Samsung Pay is mostly about shopping in physical retailers, but the company has rolled out limited support for online payments.

You've been able to make online payments using Samsung Pay in South Korea for a while, and now the functionality is trickling out to other territories, including the US, where it can be used for in-app payments.

It also supports Mastercard's Masterpass, which theoretically lets you make purchases from computers and other handheld devices using little more than your fingerprint as authentication.

Given Samsung Pay has just landed in the UK, it's unclear at present how much of this additional functionality is arriving with it, but we'll be sure to keep you posted.

Samsung Pay launch history

Samsung Pay launched on August 20, 2015 in its native South Korea. It then made its way over to the US a month later, and then to China in March 2016.

It was only available in those territories for a while, but in due course, Samsung announced its expansion to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Spain – and now the UK.

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