Mobile payment systems have more or less dropped out of the tech news headlines but that doesn’t mean they’ve dropped out of the market. Once in a while, you’ll hear about Apple Pay and Google Pay expanding to cover more banks and territories. They aren’t the only options around, of course, and Samsung Pay has apparently been around for five years now. To celebrate that rather surprising length of operating time, the company is proudly announcing its next big step, which ironically goes back to giving you a plastic card.
On a technical level, Samsung Pay is admittedly the more interesting option among current contact-less mobile payment systems. Most of those rely on NFC technology which, in turn, requires a new point-of-sale terminal to be installed and configured. In contrast, Samsung Pay also supports Magnetic Secure Transmission or MST on some of its high-end phones, allowing users and merchants to utilize their existing magstripe-based terminals.
It’s a bit ironic, then, that Samsung has decided to offer a plastic debit card as an extension of its Samsung Pay platform. It is, however, in line with what Apple has already done with its White Card and what Google has been rumored to be preparing. Even LG was at one point believed to launch with its own card before it changed course and adopted something almost exactly similar to Samsung Pay’s NFC and MST combination.
One reason Samsung may have for this expansion is to also expand Samsung Pay’s coverage and use. Its MST feature is only supported on its high-end flagships, leaving other phones and users to settle for NFC only, putting it on the same level as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Those have are also adopting physical cards for the exact same reason of supporting traditional POS.
Samsung plans to bring these cards this summer and has partnered with the relatively new personal finance company SoFi. It will, of course, take much longer to roll it out to supported markets as it will require another set of certifications and licenses before it starts handing out such cards.