Samsung mounts biometric offensive on Apple with S6 sensor, Samsung Pay
16 March 2015 11:34 GMT

The new sensor is expected to play a vital role in the mobile payments system.

South Korean tech giants Samsung has created a serious contender to Apple’s iPhone with the launch of the S6, with additions such as its improved touch fingerprint sensor being praised alongside more immediately impressive features such as its curved screen and metallic casing.

Supplied by as yet unnamed firm, the S6’s fingerprint sensor is one feature that has been singled out for praise by tech critics – especially over its swipe-based predecessor.

“The execution is streamlined and flawless. No more need to swipe down multiple times because the sensor is unable to recognize it. Rather, the new process is quick, simple, and downright heartache-free,” wrote phonearena.com.

“I tested the fingerprint sensor on a Galaxy S 6 the other day and couldn't trick it. It could even read my fingerprint no matter what position I put finger on the home button,” wrote the reviwewer for Business Insider UK.

The new sensor is expected to play a vital role in the mobile payments system – Samsung Pay – which was also unveiled at MWC2015.

To be launched in Summer, Samsung Pay has already signed up Mastercard, American Express, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and U.S. Bank, among others.

While like its Apple rival the payments system combines fingerprint authentication, NFC and tokenisation, Samsung’s acquisition of LoopPay last month means it can also include tech that makes its payments system backwards compatible with mag strip readers.

Samsung offers this capability by deploying a groundbreaking LoopPay technology called Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST). Consumers can use Samsung Pay in merchant locations regardless of whether the terminals support NFC or traditional magstripe, which is the vast majority of existing terminals.

“Samsung Pay will reinvent how people pay for goods and services and transform how they use their smartphones,” said JK Shin, CEO and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics. “The secure and simple payment process, coupled with our robust partner network, makes Samsung Pay a truly game-changing service that will bring value to consumers and our partners in the ecosystem.”

“Mobile commerce just got a lot more interesting,” said Jim McCarthy, Executive Vice President, Visa Inc. “Combining Visa’s expertise in payment technology with Samsung’s leadership in creating innovative mobile experiences, gives more choice to financial institutions who want to enable their customers to pay by phone.”

“We are committed to making interactions easier in the financial lives of our customers”, said Brian Moynihan, CEO, Chairman and Director of Bank of America. “Samsung Pay is another significant move in that direction for our 17 million mobile customers."

“We are excited to work with Samsung as they deliver Samsung Pay to consumers around the globe,” said Ed McLaughlin, Chief Emerging Payments Officer, MasterCard. “The security and simplicity we are able to deliver through our digital enablement service is rapidly changing the way consumers can shop. The launch of Samsung Pay will continue to drive momentum for mobile payments and provide a broader set of digital experiences.”