Galaxy S21 heralds Samsung Pay MST demise, S Pen expansion

There's a lot to talk about the Galaxy S21 series, mostly because of how much Samsung packed into the phones. That includes price tags that are almost too good to be true if you know Samsung. That said, there are also things that Samsung removed, the most notorious of them being the charger in the box as well as the microSD card slot. That's not the end of the story, of course, and Samsung still had a lot to reveal off-stage.

You might not have heard of Samsung Pay or any of the other mobile payment solutions making the news lately. That may simply be because those have become so common and expected that they're no longer that newsworthy these days. Samsung Pay may be coming back into the spotlight today, though, and not exactly in a good way as the company confirms it is dropping the platform's unique feature.

Most contactless mobile payment systems, including Apple Pay and Google Pay, utilize NFC while Samsung Pay employs both NFC and MST, a.k.a. Magnetic Stripe Technology. The latter allows Samsung Pay to be compatible with both newer NFC terminals as well as traditional card-based PoSs. Samsung, however, claims that NFC has now become more common that it no longer sees the need to keep the MST side of things.

While Samsung may be removing MST support in future Galaxy phones, it might be giving them something as well. It confirmed to SamMobile that it is indeed planning to expand S Pen support to more device categories in the future. It doesn't say which devices but the Galaxy Fold is already a prime suspect. Hopefully, it also plans to take on the likes of the LG Stylo and the Moto G Stylus with its own take on a budget, stylus-toting phone.

That won't mean that the Galaxy S21 Ultra will no longer be one of a kind. There might still be some things that only a premium smartphone will be able to do, like S Pen gestures that may still be coming via a future S Pen Pro in the near future.