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August 17, 2015

How does Samsung Pay compare to rivals? 5 key comparisons

Weighing up support, convenience, security and availability.

By Alexander Sword

Samsung last week unveiled the Samsung Pay payment solution at the Unpacked event in New York, but how does the solution from the Android titan compare to Apple Pay and other solutions, such as Android Pay and Zapp?

CBR has weighed up the new offering in 5 important categories.


1. Convenience

The process is fairly simple. You start by adding a payment card to the Samsung Pay app. Having opened the app, you choose the card, authenticate with the fingerprint sensor and then tap against the point-of-sale terminal.

In general, Samsung Pay is more cumbersome than its competitors, requiring you to open the application before you can do anything. Neither Android Pay or Apple Pay require this; you simply tap against the NFC terminal to activate it. Apple Pay adds a fingerprint sensor for additional security.

2. Retailer support

As well as the near-field communication technology used by other systems, Samsung Pay includes magnetic secure transmission, enabling it to work in most places where a card can be used. Vendors do not need to upgrade their payments technology, as long as they take cards.

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Apple Pay boasts names including Marks and Spencers, Waitrose, Boots, Lidl, Starbucks, Subway , BP, Costa, KFC, Nando’s, McDonald’s, SPAR and TfL. Costcutter, Eat and JD are among those soon to join the list. Upstart start-up Zapp, meanwhile, will work at Asda, Sainsbury’s, Spar and Thomas Cook.

3. Devices supported

The three S6 models, S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge Plus support the system. Outside of the UK, the Galaxy Note 5 also supports the software. It is likely it will also feature on the Samsung Gear A smartwatch.

Apple Pay is supported on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the wearable Apple Watch. Android Pay will be built into the Android M operating system and should be available on all NFC-enabled Android devices. Zapp, meanwhile, is available to use

4. UK availability

Samsung claims Samsung Pay will appear in the near future; this will be October at earliest, as it will follow a launch in Korea on 20 August and the US on 28 September.

Apple Pay is already available, while Zapp will be launch in October. There are currently no UK release dates available for Android Pay, so the launch could be a while away.

5. Security

Samsung Pay and Apple Pay both have similar levels of security: a higher standard than contactless cards. The fact that you have to authorise payment with a fingerprint means that a spoof reader can’t be used to activate payment without consent.

In addition, both use Mobile Digital Enablement System tokenisation, so that payment details are not sent out to the retailer’s system. Instead, unique ‘tokens’ are generated for a specific payment.

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