This week saw some great news for Samsung phone owners that have been dying to try out the company's mobile payment service. Global co-general manager of Samsung Pay Thomas Ko told Reuters that the Samsung Pay service will be expanding beyond the company's flagship devices to likely include cheaper none flagship devices, which in turn means we will hopefully see it rolled out to older devices as well!
Lower-priced Samsung phones will likely start offering the mobile wallet "within the next year," Thomas Ko, global co-general manager of Samsung Pay, said in an interview. He went on to say it is a goal for Samsung to see wider adoption of the service and that "handset availability of Samsung Pay as well as online payment support is coming soon."
Samsung also plans to expand the service beyond just a mobile wallet and into the online payments arena. Ko says that the mobile wallet is accepted at far more locations than its rivals, due to its ability to work with older payment terminals and not just new NFC-equipped models. Online payments, meanwhile, will transform the service into a PayPal rival.
Samsung Pay is already the most widely accepted mobile wallet in the United States because it is compatible with new and older credit card terminals and does not require any special arrangements with retailers, Ko said. For instance, shoppers at Wal-Mart can pay by just waving their smartphones with the app. without the requirement of addition of the store's own third party app like their newly launched Walmart Pay.
Unlike the limitation of Android Pay and Apple Pay which both require NFC, or near-field communications, chips and terminals, Samsung Pay uses technology that Samsung acquired through their acquisition of payment service LoopPay.
LoopPay utilizes MST technology to generate changing magnetic fields over a very short period of time. This is accomplished by putting alternating current through an inductive loop, which can then be received by the magnetic read head of the credit card reader. The signal received from the device emulates the same magnetic field change as a mag stripe card when swiped across the same read head. LoopPay works within a 3-inch distance from the read head. The field dissipates rapidly beyond that point, and only exists during a transmission initiated by the user.
Utilizing this technology Samsung Pay wirelessly sends credit or debit card information magnetically as if a customer's card was swiped at a payment terminal. That means merchants aren't required to install additional or specialized hardware to accept payments from a phone. Samsung Pay also works with NFC terminals but currently only on Samsung's four flagship devices such as the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. Expanding the technologies to lower priced phones will bring mobile payments to a larger swath of the population.