Mobility

Will Samsung beat Google in the mobile payment game?

There's a new mobile payment system on the horizon, and Jack Wallen thinks it might be the best bet for nearly all Android users.

Smartphone

That's right, ladies and gents, there's about to be another mobile payment system unleashed on the world. This time, it's in the outstretched palms of Samsung. Among their latest barrage of announcements (including the Galaxy Note 5, the S6 Edge Plus, and major updates for both the S6 and S6 Edge) came information about the release of Samsung Pay as a beta trial on August 25, 2015.

This all came about after Samsung acquired LoopPay, the company responsible for developing MST technology. This new system only requires you swipe upwards (from the bottom bezel) and then authorize the payment with a fingerprint.

Easy peasy.

But why? Google is currently working on the next iteration of a payment system (called Android Pay), so why would Samsung bother spending the time to re-re-re-invent the wheel?

In a word, Samsung KNOX.

That's right, Samsung Pay will use three forms of security to keep your payments safe:

  • Tokenization
  • Fingerprint scanning
  • Samsung KNOX

If you're unfamiliar with KNOX, it's simple (on the surface). KNOX is a containerization system that separates business and personal data to add a layer of security not available on standard Android devices.

However, the goodness doesn't end their. Samsung is working hard to ensure you can use its payment system anywhere you can swipe a card. This new payment system doesn't just employ Near Field Communication (NFC), it adds Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) so that you can use Samsung Pay on nearly any existing Point Of Sale (POS) system. With the inclusion of MST, Samsung Pay will (theoretically) work on more POS systems than any other mobile payment system.

We've heard that before, right? With Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Android Pay, and now Samsung Pay. Each and every mobile payment system has laid claim to being accepted nearly everywhere. The reality has been an exercise in frustration.

But that is changing, especially here in the United States, where we've been behind the curve on payment systems for a very long time. By the end of the year, Chip and Pin cards will have been issued, and most POS systems will be refitted and ready for mobile payment. So, Samsung Pay should be rolling out at just the right time.

Better yet, Samsung Pay will be installed, by default, on all new Samsung devices. Around mid-August, an update will be available for the S6 and S6 Edge that will install Samsung Pay, allowing users to give the beta a try.

But why would you opt for Samsung Pay when Android Pay (when it eventually releases) will be (theoretically) better integrated into Android? As I mentioned earlier, KNOX is a major selling point for Samsung Pay, especially for business users. KNOX (along with tokenization and fingerprint scanning) means serious security for mobile payments. Given the choice of Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay, my guess is that Samsung Pay will win, hands down, for security.

But there's a bit of an unforeseen problem for some Samsung users.

Root.

That's right... rooting a newer Samsung device is tricky because of KNOX. Without following the right steps, you'll trip the KNOX counter and Samsung Pay will not work. In fact, there's no way of knowing (until the beta arrives) if Samsung Pay will function on a rooted phone in any way. So, for anyone hoping to root their new Samsung device, you can kiss Samsung Pay buh-bye. Of course, if you have a rooted Samsung device, you won't be getting OTA updates, so chances are that you won't have Samsung Pay in the first place.

The bottom line? If you want to test drive Samsung Pay, don't root your phone. If you don't care about Samsung Pay, then don't worry about it.

Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Wallet, the competition is about to get serious. Users looking for the most secure form of mobile payment system will want to migrate over to a newer Samsung device so they can enjoy Samsung Pay.

What do you think? Is Samsung Pay enough to push you towards a Samsung device—or are you content with the mobile payment system available for your current smartphone? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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