Samsung Pay vs Android Pay – The Differences and Similarities

So, what’s the difference between the all new Android Pay and Samsung Pay? I do not know why they have made it so confusing, all of this is pretty hard to handle. For Samsung owners in U.S., there are two apps on the phone – Android Pay and Samsung Pay. That is all because you are using a Samsung phone with Android OS, so this makes little sense.

However, the biggest problem is – are they related? The answer to this question is NO. They are not even closely related. These apps handle your payments, and both of them are different in working. So, which one is better? Let’s find out.

Android Pay

Android Pay is a replacement of Google Wallet app, which used NFC to make payments between payment terminal and your phone only at supporting stores. The working of Android Pay is simple as stating that, you just need to add your cards (debit or credit) to the app and then you have a facility to make payments virtually. For that, the security has to be enabled in the form of secure lock screen (PIN, password or pattern or fingerprint) and you will be able to use it completely secured.

Not all the banks till now are supported by Android Pay, here’s the list of banks that are supported right now. Still, you should call your bank before getting too excited and ask them if the system is ready. Your bank may be listed, and it may allow you to make payments, but all those points that you earn by shopping on credit cards may not add up at the moment as the integration may be at primary levels or its on fully compatible.

Android Pay has another precious feature that includes payments via loyalty and gift cards, Samsung Pay recently added gift cards as well, which was not there some time back.

You can use Android Pay on phones with Android 4.4 and above that must have the NFC and Host Card Emulation (HCE support). Your phone carrier is not bound, you may use any carrier to use this pay system. If your phone is ready for Pay app from Android, you will get the update on old Google Wallet app, or a new app will appear on your Android store with Android Pay as the app name.

Still making payments with Android Pay is difficult due to less number of stores supporting NFC payments. The big stores and outlets like Macy’s, McDonalds and Walgreen support it, but it will take some time before it reaches the mass audience.

Samsung Pay

The new mobile payment platform from Samsung works with NFC like the Android Pay system, but the new technology that Samsung Pay is using has something else called the MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission), which will emulate an actual card swipe. This means that any payment terminal, where card swipe is available can use Samsung Pay from the phone that has the feature.

Samsung pay can be activated by fingerprint sensor or PIN, and you just need to hold your phone and swipe it over the card machine where you usually swipe cards, and the payment will be transferred. This method is super safe, and no leak of information can be done. This also means that NFC support is not required at a store, if they accept cards then they should be able to accept Samsung Pay.

Some card readers may not support virtual swap; they might require a physical swap, in this case, Samsung Pay will not work, and you have to use your physical card. Moreover, another situation where you handle card to the store and they do the swipe on their side of the table also gets interrupted with Samsung Pay. As you need to activate it by Fingerprint sensor, so you need to be present when the swipe is done.

Samsung Pay works with many retailers, but it is not supported by many banks right now as compared to Android Pay. Some of the supporters are Bank of America, U.S Bank, Citi Bank and Mastercard, VISA and American Express.

The difference in both the apps here is – if you can add a card on Samsung pay, it will work for sure, but Android Pay system may or may not work depending upon the supported banks and NFC support.

Samsung Pay has one big issue, which is compatibility as it only supports Galaxy S6, S6 edge/edge+ and the Note 5 plus all the higher end new phones. Another restriction is of having the phone of U.S. model with supported carriers (T-mobile, AT& T and U.S. Cellular). So, you cannot use any international phone like a Note 5 from outside U.S. and use the Samsung Pay – as your carrier may not support the transaction.


Both technologies are similar yet different in approach, Samsung Pay has upper hand in using any machine that doesn’t require a physical swap, while Android Pay has broader compatibility if store/vendor owner support NFC.

If you are using a Samsung device that’s new and have both Samsung Pay and Android Pay enabled then use them both and add your cards to use them according to the situation. At places where NFC is available to use, give Android Pay preference and where swipe machines allow MST to get virtually anywhere feel quickly then use the Samsung Pay.

My personal choice would be using Android Pay and wait for more banks to be added and more stores to have NFC enabled swipe machines. What’s yours? Do tell us in the comment section below.