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MST — Samsung Pay’s defining feature — not included with Galaxy S21 series

  • The just-launched Samsung Galaxy S21 series won’t support magnetic stripe technology (MST) through the Samsung Pay app.
  • Instead, Galaxy S21 owners will need to rely exclusively on NFC payments.
  • Going forward, Samsung will abandon MST inclusion. However, older phones can continue to use the technology.

One of the defining features of Samsung Pay is its support of magnetic stripe technology, otherwise known as MST. Using MST, a user can conduct a contactless payment with any credit card machine — even if it doesn’t support near-field communication (NFC). This is the biggest difference (and benefit) to using Samsung Pay over a competitor, such as Google Pay.

See also: Google Pay: A beginner’s step-by-step guide

However, Samsung confirmed today that the brand new Samsung Galaxy S21 series will not support MST (via Ron Amadeo on Twitter). This means Galaxy S21 owners will need to rely on NFC support whenever they conduct a contactless payment.

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MST on Samsung Pay is gone, but why?

Samsung sent a statement to Amadeo, which you can see below:

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.

It appears the explanation for this change is simply that NFC is a lot more prevalent now than it was when MST first became available. Therefore, it was likely a simple cost-saving measure that pushed Samsung to remove MST hardware from the Galaxy S21 phones.

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This will be upsetting to many Samsung fans, no doubt. While NFC support is certainly easier to find in stores these days, it’s still not everywhere. This could force a small percentage of buyers who love the feature to avoid upgrading their phones.



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