Last month, with the launch of the Galaxy S21 phone, something was missing. The newest phone from Samsung no longer supports Magnetic Secure Transmission or MST. MST is a technology used to conduct payment transactions in the Samsung Pay universal payment app by creating a signal that mimics a magnetic strip card transaction.
This means that consumers can use Samsung Pay to make a purchase even with those merchants that haven’t yet installed NFC contactless payment capabilities within their POS terminals. While for now, MST lives on in the millions of other Samsung phones, this is the first step to sun-setting the technology. Here’s what the company had to say as reported in AndroidPolice:
The technology allowed earlier Samsung devices to use wireless payments even at terminals that weren’t configured with NFC, emulating a magnetic card stripe for the reader. Unfortunately for fans of the feature, Samsung confirms to us that the Galaxy S21 won’t have MST in the US, and this loss of MST will apply to future phones as well.
The following statement was also provided to explain the feature’s removal.
Due to the rapid adoption of near field communication (NFC) technology by consumers and businesses, beginning with devices launched in 2021, Samsung Pay will focus its support on NFC transactions, across the Galaxy portfolio. While future devices will no longer include magnetic stripe technology (MST), customers with previous, compatible Galaxy devices will be able to continue using Samsung Pay, including MST.
As the National Retail Federation found in recent research, 42% of merchants still don’t have contactless capabilities in the U.S. MST is a great way to bridge that gap, particularly for tech-forward individuals who buy the latest phones, and want use contactless phone technology at all the places they shop. Despite this great feature, as a global entity Samsung may have viewed the rise of NFC and the shift to remote purchases in the U.S. to represent too small of a population to continue their support of MST.
Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group