Samsung Pay’s best feature will be missing when it lands in the U.K.

Has Visa Europe blocked Samsung Pay's biggest advantage over Apple Pay? Photo: Samsung

Has Visa Europe blocked Samsung Pay’s biggest advantage over Apple Pay? Photo: Samsung

Samsung Pay’s best feature — the one that makes it better than Apple Pay, Android Pay, and about every other mobile payments service — could be missing when it arrives in the U.K.

According to a new report, Visa Europe won’t support Samsung’s Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology, which means Brits may have to rely solely on NFC.

Today’s mobile payment services are pretty much clones of one another, but Samsung Pay’s MST gives it a clear advantage over rivals. While the others require NFC-compatible payment terminals, Samsung Pay can talk to traditional credit card readers that read magnetic strips.

Sadly, this feature won’t be available in the U.K. when Samsung Pay makes its debut, according to Digital Spy, which cites a “reliable source” with knowledge of the matter.

“Samsung Pay has failed to secure the UK-based backing of a major card manufacturer for this Apple-toppling feature, with Visa Europe opting not to support Samsung Pay’s MST technology,” reads the report.

Visa does support MST in the U.S., where the technology is still prevalent. In Europe, however, consumers have been using the chip and PIN system, which does not require MST, for years now. In fact, it’s rare that MST is used to make payments in the U.K. now.

“We have mature contactless infrastructure in the UK, so we have less use of swipe or mag stripe experiences,” Jon White, Head of Product Enablement Strategy at Visa Europe told Digital Spy.

“Fundamentally for us, we love Samsung Pay, it’s a great experience, but what we’re all about is preserving our brand promise to all our customers and where they’re using Samsung Pay in every store, we just have to ensure they enjoy the best experience.”

“It would be wrong to say we’re not supporting MST, we’re just taking a market-by-market case, and that’s down to us, Samsung, the card makers to make sensible decisions on what experiences are best for consumers.”

Samsung refused to comment on the claims, but White certainly hints at Visa Europe’s crackdown on MST. We’ll have to wait and see how Samsung handles that when the service hits the U.K. — which will reportedly happen in May.