I caught myself thinking that we are so quickly getting used to the benefits of civilization that every slightest deprivation of them becomes at least a nuisance that reduces the quality of life by creating inconveniences, sometimes foolish, sometimes tangible. It's like with the annual shutdown of hot water for two weeks in one progressive nuclear power … Not fatal, but incomprehensible and unpleasant.
I was forced to think about this by a routine visit to a grocery store, where only at the checkout, two people before payment, I learned that there were some problems with the Internet connection at the terminals and you can pay for purchases only in cash.
With regret, I put my phone in my pocket, which was prepared for payment out of habit, and figured if I had enough cash to pay for everything I typed in the basket. By a lucky coincidence, the money was just right back to back, and nothing had to be returned to the shelves or left at the checkout.
Leaving the store, I thought about which payment system I use and why.
As a fan of Samsung smartphones, since the Galaxy S7 I have used Samsung Pay and found it convenient and meeting all my requirements. In parallel, I tried to use Google Pay, comparing them with each other. Unfortunately, due to some circumstances (a smartphone is needed for business, and not just surfing the Internet), there was no opportunity to try Apple Pay, so today – about two payment systems, or rather, about their comparison and the reasons for choosing the final use case.
Before starting, I must make a small remark: everything described below is the subjective opinion of a single author, that is, me, and does not claim to be the ultimate truth. It was my needs and the peculiarities of the perception of the world that pushed me to the final choice. For you, these reasons may be just as important, or be something that is generally not worth paying attention to.
So what does Samsung Pay offer us?
The most important thing to know about Samsung Pay (hereinafter SPay) is that this payment system works only on Samsung devices and on no other devices, and no Root is able to make SPay earn money on a device from another manufacturer.
Moreover, if you get Root on a Samsung device running on an Exynos processor (devices with a Snapdragon processor have options for dancing with a tambourine, but about that not today), then you can say goodbye to SPay forever on this very device, because no firmware and flashing will no longer help. The Knox mark will go to position 1, and there will be no way back.
At the same time, SPay allows you to store and use not only bank (debit and credit) cards, but also loyalty cards, gift and club cards, as well as link your PayPal account.
Another very significant but gradually losing its relevance advantage is the MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) technology, which allows you to pay even on old terminals that are not equipped with a contactless payment module.
MST helped me out many times at the very beginning of using contactless payments, when many stores were using old terminals.
The eyes of the salespeople, who for a minute asserted that it was impossible to pay by phone in their store, but now watching a paid check pop out of the cash register, are priceless.
However, at the moment, the technology has practically lost its relevance, since many retail outlets are updating acquiring agreements, and with them old terminals for new ones that support contactless payments.
An indirect confirmation of this was the fact that Samsung stopped equipping mid-range models with this technology.
In addition to these obvious advantages, there are also non-obvious ones – SPay offers different loyalty programs in different countries. This means that by installing, for example, the American version of SPay (using the focus with changing the region in the firmware), you can get access to the bonus program, where bonus points are awarded for each purchase. These points can be spent on online certificates for Samsung products (you will need a US address to receive them) or play the wheel of fortune, where you can also win cash prizes.
In addition to the advantages, there are also limitations – for example, you can add no more than 10 bank cards to one SPay account. It is unlikely that this is a serious problem, since few people have more than 10 cards, but the fact itself should be taken into account – suddenly you want to add cards of all relatives to SPay. J
Among other restrictions (although for some it will be a plus), it is worth highlighting Samsung's paranoid concern about the security of payments. So, to pay for your purchase, you will not only have to launch SPay, but also be sure to confirm the transaction with either a password, a fingerprint, or an iris of the eye.
Moreover, this authorization method does not depend in any way on the one that you have on blocking the phone itself.
On the one hand, it is safe and adds peace of mind to the owner, on the other hand, it creates inconveniences with the need for additional body movements.
But SPay can be configured to launch from any screen, even from a locked screen off, with a simple swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen.
This can be very convenient and significantly speeds up the payment process. Moreover, you can choose where to leave the swipe, and where to remove it (home screen, lock screen, screen off).
Now about Google Pay (hereinafter GPay).
Unlike SPay, Google's payment system does not have the ability to pay at terminals that do not support NFC, so if your favorite store has old-style terminals, you either pay in cash or take out a card.
But GPay does not have a limit on the number of cards that can be added to one account. Add as much as you want.
Among other advantages that distinguish GPay from SPay, it is also worth highlighting the absence of restrictions on the manufacturer – the payment system from Google can be installed on almost any Android device with the official version Android version 4.4 KitKat and above, as well as without Root (there are workarounds, but this is not a topic for reasoning) and even on iPhone.
Similar to SPay, loyalty cards can be added to GPay.
Thus, Google's payment service is much more versatile than Samsung's.
That being said, for better or worse, Google is not so concerned about payment security. Therefore, unlike Samsung, Google's payment system uses the same types of phone locks as the phone itself. That is, if you use a fingerprint and unlock your phone before paying, you don't have to confirm your purchase. An additional plus is that there is no need to separately launch GPay – to pay, you just need to bring the unlocked phone to the terminal.
On the one hand, it is not as secure as in SPay, on the other hand, if someone unlocked my phone, what prevents them from doing the same with the payment application?
In total, we have the following:
SPay allows you to pay even where there is no support for contactless payments, but it works only on Samsung devices (except for budget ones) and has an increased level of security, which is often unnecessary, as it creates additional inconveniences (the fingerprint does not work immediately, the retina scanner requires you to take off your glasses and spread your eyes).
GPay has no restrictions on the hardware manufacturer and works on any Android – devices that meet a number of requirements, such as version and no modifications, and also has a comfortable level of security. At the same time, unlike its counterpart, it allows you to pay only on terminals with NFC support.
Instead of a conclusion
In my case, the most optimal option was to use two payment systems at once, organically complementing each other.
As my main payment method, I use GPay, which allows you to pay for purchases from the lock screen by simply pressing the power key once, since the phone uses Smart Lock, which unlocks the phone while it is connected to the fitness bracelet. This turns out to be very convenient – you do not need to press anything, enter, etc. I just hit the power key, held my phone up, and voila, the payment went through.
In parallel, SPay is configured on the phone, which is used in cases where GPay payment cannot be performed (for example, a terminal without NFC support). To ensure that the services do not interfere with each other, SPay is installed as a backup and is configured to start only from the lock screen with a swipe up. The rest of the time he sleeps and waits in the wings.
One of the frequent times SPay comes in handy for me is buying snacks from the vending machine at work.
The fact is that a blunt terminal is installed in this machine, which does not always process contactless cards correctly, and then it refuses to accept the phone and asks to insert or swipe the card. This is where SPay comes in with his MST. Instead of a card, I simply launch SPay and hold my phone up to the terminal's magnetic reader. The terminal thinks that a card with a magnetic stripe was swiped through it, and happily agrees to accept payment.
Of course, in addition to this humorous scenario, SPay comes in handy for me when traveling to European countries, where not all terminals are equipped with NFC chips.
Soon I plan to switch from Samsung devices to Google Pixel devices. I will not have a choice which payment system to use, but Samsung owners have a choice.
In this regard, I would like to know your scenarios for using GPay / SPay / Apple Pay and preferences in choosing contactless payment systems.