Samsung Pay now has a release date. Actually, it has two: Samsung’s mPayment platform will launch in South Korea on August 20th (along with its newest flagship smartphones), and in the US on September 28th.
Samsung has revealed a few more details on how it’s going to work, too. It will only be compatible with the newest smartphones – the Samsung Galaxy S6, the S6 Edge, and the S6 Edge+, as well as the Galaxy Note 5. While the list of compatible devices may be somewhat limited in number, the list of compatible merchants should be pretty expansive, as the mPayment system doesn’t require merchants’ POS terminals to have NFC technology. It instead uses the Magnetic Secure Transmission antennae of compatible Samsung devices to essentially ‘trick’ magnetic strip card readers into registering payment data. This could prove particularly beneficial in markets like the US, where NFC readers are not yet widespread among retailers.
The catch is that MST payments require the cooperation of participating credit and debit card providers; so far Samsung has MasterCard, Visa, and American Express on board, but it’s working to get more partners as well. That could be part of the reason why the company hasn’t yet set a launch date for other regions beyond the US and South Korea, though it was recently announced that MasterCard has signed on for a European launch.
Finally, Samsung asserts that all transaction data is encrypted and sent via a one-time token system. It is perhaps particularly important for the company to emphasize these security measures as it launches its mPayment service, given recent discoveries of security vulnerabilities affecting older Samsung devices; the company also recently announced that it would start pushing monthly security updates for its Android-based smartphones.