Why no Samsung Pay for S6, S6 edge?

Samsung users who have a Galaxy S6 or S6 edge may be wondering why the Samsung Pay service is not available on their phones. Digital reporter Vincent Chang found out why.

Samsung Pay officially went live in Singapore on Thursday. But it is not supported on the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 edge here, despite the fact that both phones support this function in the United States.

It turns out that Samsung Pay in China is also incompatible with the S6 and S6 edge.

Samsung Pay was launched in Australia on Wednesdayand its website states that Samsung Pay for the S6 and the S6 edge will be available at a later date. However, the website also says the S6 and S6 edge will work via near-field communication (NFC) and not through Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology.

MST is Samsung Pay's biggest advantage over other mobile payments like Apple Pay. This is because this technology works with traditional magnetic credit card readers. This means Samsung Pay will be available at more retailers, compared to Apple Pay. In addition, the transaction limit for MST is the individual card limit, instead of the $100 limit for contactless payment methods like Apple Pay.

We asked Samsung about the lack of Samsung Pay on the S6 and S6 edge.

It said: "There are several factors that are taken into consideration during the production of our phone models for each market. At the time, we decided not to include Samsung Pay in our Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge models for Singapore. The Singapore market wasn't ready then and we knew it would take at least a year to make progress to launch Samsung Pay in Singapore. By then, we would be more than halfway through the life cycle of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge models. We've since included Samsung Pay in every subsequent flagship model, including the Galaxy S6 edge+, Note 5 as well as our Galaxy S7 and S7 edge phones."

Samsung phones that support MST have a tiny metal coil that generates the magnetic field to communicate with magnetic credit card readers. Samsung acquired this technology last year by buying LoopPay, a mobile payment firm that has patented the MST technology.

Since the S6 and S6 edge do not appear to support Samsung Pay via MST outside the US, my guess is that the international variants of these phones probably lack the hardware for MST.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2016, with the headline 'Why no Samsung Pay for S6, S6 edge?'. Subscribe