Over 80% of Americans now own a smartphone with the number continuing to grow. With this trend towards mobile computing, carrying our entire lives inside a single, pocketable device is also becoming the norm. Something that’s inherently affected by this is how we pay for things. There’s been a race between the big 3 mobile giants to dominate that market as well as the handset you carry.
And since we are an Android site, we will take a shot at shedding some light on the two that apply to our OS of choice: Google Pay and Samsung Pay. Yes, both are a form of mobile payment apps and perform very similarly in their results. However, the underlying technology is actually different.
This one is pretty well known to those of us in the world of Android. The tech behind it is also the more common of the two. Google Pay uses a combination of software and hardware to produce a payment option while using nothing but your smartphone. It uses Near-Field Communication (NFC) to pass the encrypted information of your credit card to a payment reader in the store.
NFC is akin to other technologies such as RFID badges that get many of us inside our workplace on a daily basis. With Google Pay, your credit card is loaded onto the app and is then stored under a virtual number to keep the real number safer. Then, when you prompt it at the cash register, NFC passes the information from the phone to the card reader via electromagnetic induction.
Google Pay is a robust payment platform, but it is hindered by the hardware compatibility. If your local store doesn’t have a card reader with the additional NFC capabilities, then you are simply out of luck.
The overall concept for Samsung Pay is almost identical, and its app even supports NFC-powered transactions as well. However, the main reason Samsung has a separate branded version is that they support a different technology called MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) to power most of its transactions.
This tech was originally born of a company called LoopPay. LoopPay was an independent company that made mobile payment cases with MST built inside of them. Paired with an app the devices would allow for mobile payments on devices and predates other apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
So what makes it so different than NFC and Google Pay? MST doesn’t require the card reader at the point of sale to have any additional technology like NFC. It’s magnetic pass off mimics the magnetic strip already found on every debit and credit card on the planet. This gives you instant compatibility with 90% of the world’s credit card machines.
Both payment platforms are more than capable of allowing you to make a payment without the need for a physical card. We’ve come a long way in mobile payments with our phones. However, Google Pay and Samsung Pay simply go about in a slightly different manner. We’d love to hear which one you prefer, and why, in the comments.