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Samsung Pay coming to the UK and to budget phones

Tech giant’s system battles against Android Pay and Apple Pay

Rumours suggest that Samsung Pay could soon make its way to budget-priced Samsung smartphones in the UK.

Although the payment system is currently on a select number of handsets, a wider roll-out could be on the cards. So what sets Samsung Pay apart from its mobile payment competitors, and when can we expect it on more devices? We take a closer look below.

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Samsung Pay: a premium feature at an affordable price

Right now, Samsung Pay is exclusive to the tech giant’s high-end mobiles (such as the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge), but that could be about to change. Sources speaking to digital culture and entertainment website Mashable have claimed that Samsung is looking to roll out its mobile payment system to its cheaper handsets, which is good news for buyers on a budget.

India has been chosen as a testing ground for the initial Samsung Pay expansion, and there are suggestions that the £200 Samsung Galaxy J5 (right) will be one of the models treated to the update here in the UK.

We’re seeing an increasing number of cheaper phones arriving with innovative features to rival expensive flagships. It doesn’t end with mobile payment support, either. Huawei’s £225 Honor 6X has dual rear-facing cameras, a feature that you’ll also find on Apple’s £720 iPhone 7 Plus. On a similar note, lots of mobiles below £300 now have a fingerprint sensor, with the HTC One A9s a recent example.

Depending on Samsung’s final decision, it could be that Samsung Pay becomes a stock feature on all of its new releases in future.

Samsung Pay vs Apple Pay vs Android Pay

We’ve seen and heard plenty about rival systems, such as Android Pay and Apple Pay, so what makes Samsung Pay different?

Unlike its competitors, Samsung Pay uses magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology, which emits a signal that mimics the strip you find on a standard credit card. Because of this, Samsung Pay can be used at any terminal where you’d usually swipe a card. Payments can be authorised using your fingerprint (if your phone has a sensor) or a unique Pin.

In practice, this means that Samsung Pay can be used at places where Android Pay and Apple Pay can’t.

When will Samsung Pay arrive in the UK?

The latest rumours suggest that a Samsung Pay announcement will be made around the same time as the official unveiling of the Galaxy S8. Samsung’s ‘Unpacked’ press event takes place on 29 March, and it has already been confirmed that the Galaxy S8 will feature heavily here. Headline-grabbing smartphone aside, this might be where we hear more on Samsung Pay’s future in the UK, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on things as Unpacked draws closer.

For more on tap-and-go mobile payments, see our What is Android Pay? and What is Apple Pay? guides. If you fancy trying the service out for yourself right away, our smartphone reviews page will tell you which Samsung phones are already supported.

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