Home / NewTech / The best function of Samsung Pay no longer beats Google Pay. Here’s why I made the switch

The best function of Samsung Pay no longer beats Google Pay. Here’s why I made the switch


Samsung Pay has an outstanding function.

Lexy Savvides / CNET

With the occasional exception that I pulled a credit card out of my wallet, I barely reached into my purse since mid-March when I started Work from home and shelter on site. One arm of my sunglasses lazily hangs over the side next to a soft cleaning cloth that is also draped over the edge. It’s not just that Corona virus curfew That turned my beautiful handbag into a glorified sunglasses stand. It’s also a renewed trust in mobile payments, leaving me with my wallet more than ever.

Here’s another change: Samsung Paythat I almost used for every five years of its existencethat I previously evangelized to my family and friends and that I once wrote I felt like a rock star. – is no longer my payment app of choice. I recently gave it up for Google Payand I didn’t look back. Why? It’s all in the thumb.

Before I explain why I made the switch, I want to clarify my mobile payments appendix – and why Samsung Pay was particularly compelling. I have followed important developments in this area since 2009, long before Samsung Pay was available. Remember these chunky ones first attempts to swivel a cell phone over an RFID tag glued to a payment card terminal? I do. What about Cringey “bump” between two phones Transfer money via PayPal? I was one of the first to try.

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I’ve been unraveling ever since often confusing definitions of “mobile payments” and asked the Key players of the day – including ISIS, a Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile company that soon (and understandably) changed its name.

When Samsung Pay came on stage firstIt had something special that set it apart from others Apple Pay and Android Pay, Google Pay’s Precursor. Samsung Pay was and is the only mobile payment platform that almost works any Credit card readers, not just payment terminals that support NFC, the short-range communication system used by Apple Pay and Google Pay. This second technology, magnetic secure transmissionis what makes credit card swipes work, and it remains Samsung Pay’s special sauce.

Because of the MST support alongside NFC, I saw Samsung Pay as a pioneer in mobile payments compared to Google and Apple. It seemed to be developing faster and doing more. When visiting South Korea in 2016 I experienced The then growing box of tricks from Samsung Pay first-hand before they came to the United States. And last year when I forgot my handbag at home and spent the day with Samsung Pay as a walletI had starry eyes and was thankful.

But something happened in March that finally changed my mind.


Nowadays, many local companies only accept credit cards or NFC tap-to-pay.

James Martin / CNET

The straw that broke the back of this camel

The London Underground has been tapping your phone at the turnstile for several years to buy a one-way ticket. For a visitor like me who is out of town, using tap-to-pay is more convenient than setting up a transit card, and I don’t have to worry about accumulating a residual value that I don’t spend.

Tap-to-Pay is easy to use. You just hold your phone over the card reader, wait for the fare switches to open, and go through. But when I used Samsung Pay on mine Galaxy S20The first time I tried, the gates did not open and forced me to try again or find a companion while my friend or family was waiting on the other side of the turnstile. I felt like every time I knocked, held my breath and kept my fingers crossed, that I wouldn’t be the most hated figure in the underground: this person blocking the gates.

Why did I try so hard to do this work? The key point with mobile tap-to-pay is making transactions faster and easier. I had to try again or embarrassedly explain to an employee why I was stuck More Time and trouble, not fewer.

My problem with Samsung Pay was not new. In fact, I’ve complained about it in my videos and written reviews for years. With Samsung Pay, swipe up to open the app. You then need to enter a PIN or authenticate yourself with your fingerprint or iris scan (on older Galaxy models) to “wake up” the Samsung Pay software. If the fingerprint scan does not work immediately or you have entered the wrong PIN, you must return the phone for a do-over before you stretch it over the device again.


New York’s MTA is a transit system that accepts mobile payments.

Ben Fox Rubin / CNET

I can still see the thin expressions of the cashier’s forced patience in my mind’s eye.

Back in London, I complained to a friend about my underground experience, who reminded me that Google Pay skipped the second authentication step, a detail I had forgotten. That was reason enough for me. As soon as I started using Google Pay regularly, my fears disappeared. As long as the Galaxy S20 Plus I have used is unlocked (see below), it works wherever NFC payments are accepted. Every time.

The big advantage of Google Pay: speed

With Google Pay, you don’t have to swipe your payment card, enter a second PIN, or unlock the screen again with your finger. It’s good to go as soon as you unlock your phone with your fingerprint or password. This one level of authentication is sufficient. (You need to use a secure lock screen for Google Pay.)

For some transit payments, you don’t have to unlock the phone at all, a Google spokesman said, though I did didn’t use public transportation I made the switch there.

Of course, Google Pay has another advantage: the availability on all Android phones makes it accessible to a larger number of people, not just users with Samsung devices.

Samsung Pay’s big win is no longer as important as it used to be

When Samsung Pay first came on the market in 2015, the almost flawless ability to buy goods and services at almost every payment terminal made me feel like an accomplished elite who could outsmart the machine with a wave of my phone.

I would watch the faces that warned me that “Apple Pay wouldn’t work” would change from impatience to awe if the Samsung phone I had in hand did just that, driven by the inclusion of the MST- Samsung Pay technology alongside NFC. Samsung has proven that pay-by-tap can work 2015 reliable enough to leave the wallet at home (or forget it, like I did last year).

But in 2020, Samsung Pay’s Ace won’t play a big role in my sleeve. Millions of stores now support NFC, especially in the urban centers where I shop, and I don’t need MST magic to make Samsung Pay work where Google and Apple’s apps don’t. To be fair, most of the places I shop today are limited to Target and Grocery Take away food while these days of closure.

Samsung Pay still has a lot of great side features ranging from reward points to in-app purchases, and you may even find that MST technology helps Samsung Pay work in more stores that you live in. However, my needs are pretty simple. Get in, pay as seamlessly as possible, get out.

I may not buy as many brick-and-mortar stores as I did three months ago, but I find that in my simpler lifestyle I am more dependent than ever on mobile payments. Where I used to hang my entire wallet for my daily commuting and weekend outings over my shoulder, I now put my phone in my pocket, take my sunglasses and make sure that Google Pay can smoothly meet my daily needs without pissing off the people lined up behind me at 6-foot intervals. It hasn’t disappointed me yet.

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