Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra no longer support the convenient Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) feature of Samsung Pay. And based on what the company told Android Police, the same will be true for all phones that Samsung releases from here on out.
If you’re not familiar, MST is a very cool trick that allows Samsung phones to send out a magnetic pulse that made payment terminals think that you’d swiped a regular credit card. The most beneficial thing about it is that MST can work in scenarios where NFC payments aren’t available. It can send that magnetic signal to pretty much any payment terminal with a traditional card swiper.
MST is by no means perfect: getting a payment to go through on the first try can sometimes be a challenge, and it’s worthless in situations where you have to stick your card all the way into a slot.
But now it’s a goner, with Samsung believing that NFC adoption has reached a point where it can phase out the MST aspect of Samsung Pay. “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,” Samsung said in a statement to Android Police. “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.”
Samsung phones as recent as the Galaxy S20 FE still had MST capabilities built in, so you don’t have to go far back to find a compatible device.
This means with the Galaxy S21 family, Samsung has now gotten rid of:
The charging brick
microSD storage expansion
I get the sense that a lot of people won’t mind losing some (or all) of those things — especially with the lower starting prices on the S21 and S21 Plus — but there’s no denying that Samsung Pay just lost what was maybe its best standout trick.