This story was originally published and last updated .
NFC payments first came to Android way, way back in 2011 with a little disaster called the Nexus S 4G. This WiMAX 4G phone was the only device that did NFC payments at the time because carriers had their fingers in everything. Thankfully, things aren't as restrictive anymore. You can make contactless payments with any Android phone containing an NFC chip, but you might have more than one option. If you've got a Samsung phone, you can choose between Samsung's own payment platform or Google Pay. While both do offer the same basic tap-to-pay NFC functionality, there are some differences in their ease of use and in the apps themselves.
There was some confusion at today's announcement whether or not Samsung's Galaxy S21 series of phones support MST for contactless payments. 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.
NFC payments are quick, easy, and less germy than swiping a card — but they aren't as widespread as one might think. Samsung uses magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology to make Samsung Pay available at almost any payment terminal around the world, even if the merchant doesn't support NFC platforms like Google Pay or Apple Pay. Now the people behind that tech are back with a new product that promises to simplify the payment process for everyone.
If you frequently use your laptop with more than one external display, there's a feature called MST (or Multi-Stream Transport) that conveniently allows you to use just one cable to connect them all to your computer, rather than two or three. Up until now Chrome OS hasn't supported MST, but based on a recent commit to the Chromium Gerrit, that could change.
One of the best low-key benefits of Samsung's Galaxy flagships is Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) payments, which allow you to use your phone for contactless payments at most credit card readers, as opposed to the NFC-based payments used by other digital wallets that require an explicitly compatible terminal. Samsung and Chase are now teaming up to bring that MST convenience to the Chase Pay app. Of course, a Chase card could be used for MST Payments via Samsung Pay before, but now the Chase Pay app gets that same direct convenience.
Samsung Pay launched in South Korea back in 2015, then expanded into the US, China, and more for a total of 19 official markets before today. Now, Samsung adds number 20: Mexico. You may be thinking, "didn't that already happen?" Well, apparently the appearance of the landing page last November was not the full launch.
Samsung Pay has existed for a few years, but the company has been slow to roll out support in Canada. Only one bank has had Samsung Pay in Canada so far, but now a handful of others are joining the fun. This expansion also brings support for debit cards in addition to credit cards.
Samsung Pay started with support for a subset of credit and debit cards when it launched almost two years ago. Over time, Samsung added new cards and banks to the service. Today, it's adding something that isn't a card—PayPal accounts. Plug in your account, and you can pay with PayPal anywhere Samsung Pay is accepted.
Samsung has been slowly but steadily adding new markets to Samsung Pay, which is now supported in more than a dozen countries. That includes a few new ones today. Residents of Sweden (previously in beta) and the UAE can start making payments today. There's also early access (i.e. a beta) for Samsung Pay in Hong Kong and Switzerland.