Samsung vs Apple in a deli payment war (with Hannibal Buress)

Chris Burns - Jan 22, 2016
Samsung vs Apple in a deli payment war (with Hannibal Buress)

This week the folks at Samsung have decided to take Apple to task on Apple Pay vs Samsung Pay in an video spot with comedian Hannibal Buress. In the spot, you’ll see the comedian take his Samsung Galaxy S6 to Katz’s Deli – a place in NYC you may have visited yourself before if you’re all about those sandwiches. To buy a sandwich, Hannibal asks if he can pay with his phone. The fellow behind the counter asks if he’ll be trying to do so with Apple Pay. He will not!

When you use Apple Pay, you’re using the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S’ built-in NFC chip. That is the only thing you’ll be able to use that NFC chip for. Unfortunately, NFC payments are not an available method of pay at Katz’s Deli. They do, on the other hand, happen to have a terminal that accepts magnetic secure transmission (MST) tech – as most credit card boxes do.

Surprise! The Samsung Galaxy S6 is up to the task, and surprises the crew behind the counter with an accepted payment.

Here’s the thing about this situation, and it’s not a big deal, but it is a cause for concern: if this were to happen in real life, you wouldn’t necessarily be met with the most enthusiastic of management at any given shop. Samsung Pay is great, and using MST is a truly smart way to allow mobile payments to make their way into our everyday lives with ease – BUT – many shop owners are wary of this new technology.


Imagine yourself owning a successful shop somewhere in a big city and you’ve got a bunch of workers who aren’t necessarily very tech-savvy. Even if a system is easy to use, they’re just more up to the task of using an old-school cash register and whatever simplest credit card system is available.

They like things to be rudimentary.

When you own a shop – any kind of shop – and you’re responsible for bringing in a living wage not only for yourself, but for a whole crew of workers, the word RISK isn’t something you want to talk about all that often.

Samsung’s task here is to push their mobile payment system into the public eye in a way that’ll erase the reaction the crew behind the counter at Katz’s Deli had. They should be saying “I think we’ve got an older credit card machine here, but see if your phone works, go ahead.”

Otherwise we’re still stuck in this world of distrust and surprise at new technology working with the old.

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