The title says it all: Without MST support, there's just no reason to use Samsung Pay. Over the past year or so, Samsung has effectively stripped Samsung Pay of its most compelling features, but its saving grace was MST — the technology that allowed Samsung phones to mimic a magnetic credit card strip, making them compatible with legacy payment terminals. But Samsung's latest smartphones, the Galaxy S21 series, debuted without MST this year — and all that's left of Samsung Pay is a bloated, ad infested app that compares poorly to Google Pay.
Longtime users of Samsung Pay will recall Samsung once offered a pretty respectable rewards program as part of the payment platform. Every time you made a purchase with Samsung Pay, Samsung would give you rewards points you could put toward different gift cards, raffles, or even the purchase products and special discounts. But at the end of last year, Samsung removed the ability to earn rewards points through Samsung Pay. Now, you can only get these points from Samsung purchases or referrals, ending one of the few monetary benefits to Samsung Pay. With MST gone, so is one of the vanishingly few practical benefits.
Samsung Pay does have a few features that are still interesting, like Samsung Money: a Samsung-branded SoFi bank account and debit card. This could be useful for Samsung owners who want easy access to a bank account directly from the Pay app, but it's by no means a highly competitive online banking offering in the wider world of such things. Samsung does offer an "employee discount" for anyone who uses Samsung Money to purchase Samsung products, but it's the same discount you can get as a student (5%), which Samsung notably doesn't require verification to claim.
Samsung Pay also has a cashback program, but I've found it to be unreliable. There have been several instances where I made a qualifying purchase, but Samsung Pay failed to issue me a rebate. On top of that, Samsung Pay's online payment platform is just not supported or used basically at all, at least here in the US. I've yet to find a website that supports Samsung Pay, and this goes for Samsung Pay's person-to-person payments, too. I've only ever used Samsung Pay as a way to send or receive money once, as essentially nobody else uses it.
I was able to put up with the lost features, ads, and general unreliability of Samsung Pay because being able to use it anywhere more than made up for it. Plenty of small businesses in my area still use outdated payment systems that don't support NFC, and I was able to MST instead, which was super convenient. But now that I've switched to the Galaxy S21, that dream of a fully digital wallet is not only gone, its memory is sullied by the sub-par app and experience Samsung has left customers to deal with.
And what's going to replace it? Unsurprisingly, for me, it's the new Google Pay, which has all the same cashback features, NFC payments, person-to-person payments, and soon a debit card and bank account with a Google Plex account. Google Pay even lets you link credit cards and bank accounts to view balances and upcoming bills. All of this with a better UI, no ads, and a better tap to pay experience (Google Pay requires no interaction to activate). Beyond that, web and app support for Google Pay actually exists, with direct integration in plenty of apps and websites. You can even order food, pay for gas, or get parking in the app itself. It's just a more useful, widely accepted platform.
Without MST, Samsung Pay really is just a more bloated, less useful, and, frankly, outdated Google Pay. I say this as someone who was a huge supporter of Samsung Pay, going as far as to only daily driver Samsung phones for a few years because of it. I could overlook its many flaws, so long as MST support remained. But without it? Samsung Pay makes about as much sense to use in 2021 as Google Hangouts.