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三星支付落户美国 苹果谷歌再迎挑战

一个多月前,三星支付在韩国预先发布,而昨日,三星支付正式落户美国。苹果支付早在一年之前就已上市,而安卓支付仍未广泛普及,所以人们不禁对三星支付的市场前景表示担忧。

目前,支持三星支付的硬件支持仅限于S6 edge+,Note5,S6以及S6 edge。美国支持三星支付的移动网络为AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile,及US Cellular;Verizon 目前还未与三星达成合作协定。不过,说到卡片支付,三星支付至少支持两个完整支付体系:Visa和万事达。然而三星仍需要获得卡片发行商的支持。目前,只有合众银行、花旗银行、美国银行以及美国运通支持三星支付。

也就是说能够有机会使用该移动支付方式的用户数量并不很多。另一方面,三星支付服务是安卓支付以及谷歌钱包的直接竞争对手。而后两者手机付款服务显然要成熟得多。(Google电子钱包于2011年上市)。

咨询公司Virtusa银行及金融服务部Bob Graham表示,三星仍需要与更多银行建立合作伙伴关系以便成功在美国上市。"苹果支付已经上市将近一年,目前获得了约500家银行的支持。可以想象,三星支付刚刚上市,可能会与一年前只有几家银行支持苹果支付的状况相似。"除了银行支持少之外,没有运营商Verizon的支持同样可惜。"

不过现在下结论还为时过早。三星的杀手锏在于磁条读卡器验证功能(MST,Magnetic Secure Transmission)和条码扫描技术。MST模拟美国市场习惯使用的磁条卡。今年二月,三星以2.5亿美元收购一家名为LoopPay的移动支付公司,这家公司致力于开发研究MST技术。

想要了解MST技术,我们可以想象一下磁条卡的刷卡过程。卡上磁条中包含此磁性粒子,写卡信息则包含在了粒子移动方向中。当您在某终端刷卡时,终端会包含一个读卡器,划卡的过程就是在读取信息。

MST技术可以在近距离向读卡器发送词条数据。MST技术发明人,LoopPay联合创始人George Wallner在2014年9月获得该项技术专利,专利内容为"移动磁条中包含一个交变磁极区,可以在狭窄的读卡器口生成波动的磁场。"

"MST设备更改脉冲流以避免屏蔽,涡流损失和电感不良的问题。"三星最新的手机包含一称为一个"小磁线圈"的部件,因此不需要配备额外的配件或转化器。

这意味着三星的最新手机可以在任何此卡终端刷卡器上使用。那么安卓支付与苹果支付又如何呢?抱歉,你只能在支持NFC技术的新式终端上使用。

不过有一点倒是让人捏把汗:移动磁条信用卡正面临被淘汰的窘境。10月1日,信用卡网络上将修改欺诈责任条款(即欺诈的责任将由未升级系统的一方负责),这样可以从侧面逼迫商家更新读卡终端来支持更安全的芯片卡。因为这一要求,许多终端已经包含了NFC技术,该技术支持安卓及苹果支付。虽然整体来说更新过程会很慢,磁条卡仍会存在一段时间,但最终,三星支付可能会过时。不过,这对三星来说并不是很大的问题,三星支付仍可以支持NFC技术。三星手机配备有NFC芯片,并同时支持安卓支付。

事实上,NFC支付是三星的首选支付方法,因为NFC支付拥有最高的安全性EMV标准,而MST则不然。万事达卡数字支付部副部长Shoshana Rosenfield在一封邮件中指出,"如果设备检测到支付终端支持NFC,三星将自动转为NFC支付。如果检测到没有NFC功能的终端,消费者可以选择启动MST支付。如果终端既支持NFC又支持MST,则会使用NFC支付,因其拥有最高的安全性标准(EMV)。万事达卡一向坚决支持最高安全标准。"

那么,三星支付会改变您的购物方式吗?我们认为10月1日修改欺诈责任条款后,使用芯片卡支付的客户在最初会需要一段时间来适应支付过程,这同时给了移动支付一个壮大的机会。不管怎么说,三星MST技术解决了一个并真正需要解决的问题,因为刷磁条卡仍然非常方便简单,用户可能不会转手移动支付。另一方面,三星多样的支付技术所支持的移动终端要多于安卓和苹果支付。这会给三星支付的上市带来更大的竞争压力。

作为银行业内人士,Graham对此持怀疑态度。他说:"长远来说,三星、苹果以及安卓支付将会面临相同的挑战。"他们需要说服消费者相信,移动支付不仅安全,而且十分简便,并且会给用户带来独特的额外优势,这是塑料卡片得不到的。"

至少在韩国,三星支付已获得成功。上周,三星在移动支付上市后一月的报告中表示,移动支付平台共处理351亿韩元(约合3千万美元)的交易额,交易总数约150万次。在活跃的三星支付用户中,有10%每天都会使用三星支付。安卓支付的类似数据还没有发布,苹果则严格对此数据进行保密, 因此目前数据没有可比性。

不过,如果各方面硬件都支持,三星支付仍值得一试。

It's been a little over a month since Samsung Pay's launch in South Korea, and yesterday the mobile payment service was available to owners of select Samsung phones in the US. But a year after Apple Pay launched, and without the broad reach of Android Pay, which launched earlier this month, does Samsung have a product that anyone will use?

First, let's start with the restrictions: at launch, Samsung Pay will only be available on Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 devices, as well as Galaxy S6 and S6 edge devices. In addition, Samsung still hasn't brokered a deal with Verizon to allow compatibility on that network, so it will only work if your select Samsung device operates on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or US Cellular. When it comes to card networks, Samsung Pay is at least playing with a full deck here: both MasterCard and Visa, the two biggest card networks in the US, are on board. But Samsung Pay needs the approval from card issuers as well, and so far only people with cards at US Bank, Citi, Bank of America, and American Express will be able to use Samsung Pay.

All those caveats mean that the number of people in the US who will be able to take advantage of Samsung Pay at launch is not very big. Add to that the fact that on Samsung's phones, its service will be in direct competition with Android Pay, Google's second, more mature mobile payments service. (Google Wallet launched) in 2011.

Bob Graham, head of Banking and Financial services at business consulting firm Virtusa, sees the amount of work that Samsung has to do building partnerships with banks as an impediment to its success at launch in the US as well. "Apple Pay, with its head start of nearly a year, has over 500 banks enrolled in its program, and while figures have not been released yet from Samsung, it's more than likely that the number of US banks will be similar to the couple dozen that Apple had when it launched. Therefore a bigger impediment for Samsung will be the number of banks supporting it combined with not having Verizon on board."

But it would be wrong to dismiss Samsung Pay out of hand for these setbacks. That's because the trick up the Korean company's sleeve is a technology called Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST), which emulates a magnetic stripe card-the dominant kind of plastic card in the US. In February of this year, Samsung bought that technology for $250 million from a company called LoopPay, which was developing a mobile phone accessory to digitally store cards.

To understand how MST works, let's take a look at what happens when you pay with a magnetic stripe card. On the card, the stripe contains magnetic particles whose orientation is manipulated to write card information. When you go to swipe a magnetic stripe card at a terminal, that terminal contains a reader head, which the magnetic stripe passes over.

With MST, a device placed close to the reader head can send it magnetic data. George Wallner, a co-founder of LoopPay who invented MST technology, was granted a patent for the technology in September 2014. The patent explains, "The moving magnetic stripe, which contains the alternating polarity magnetic domains, creates a fluctuating magnetic field within the narrow sensing aperture of the reader head."

"The MST device shapes the stream of pulses to compensate for shielding, eddy current losses and limited inductance value of the magnetic read head," the patent adds. Samsung's newest phones contain what a Samsung spokesperson called a "small magnetic coil," which eliminates the need for a separate phone case or dongle.

This means that with Samsung's newest phones, tap-and-pay ought to work at virtually any merchant terminal with a swipe card reader. With Android Pay and Apple Pay? You can only pay at newer terminals that are equipped with Near Field Technology (NFC) readers.

There's another wrinkle in the story though-magnetic strip card readers are on their way out. On October 1, card networks will institute a fraud liability shift that is intended to force merchants to update their terminals to accept chip cards like the kind you'll see in Europe or Canada. Because of this requirement, many terminals will already include the NFC technology that makes Apple Pay and Android Pay operational. Although the shift will be slow, and magnetic stripe card readers will be around for a while still, eventually Samsung's clever technology will be obsolete. But that's not too much of a problem for Samsung-Samsung Pay still works over an NFC connection, and the company's phones already include the necessary NFC chip (which, by the way, currently supports Android Pay).

In fact, NFC is Samsung Pay's preferred method of transmitting information because NFC is supported by the most recent card security standard, called EMV, where MST is not. In an e-mail to Ars, Shoshana Rosenfield, vice president of digital payments for MasterCard Worldwide, explained earlier this year that "with Samsung Pay, if the device detects NFC at the terminal, the transaction will be routed as an NFC transaction. If there is no NFC capability on the terminal, the consumer has the choice to initiate a magnetic stripe induction transaction. When the transaction is conducted via NFC at terminals that are capable of capturing EMV contactless data, they take advantage of EMV-level security. MasterCard has been a strong proponent in the transition within the US to EMV."

So, will Samsung Pay change the way you shop? Ars has argued that the October 1 chip card shift will give mobile payments a fighting chance of adoption due to the extra friction customers experience when paying with chip cards. Still, Samsung's MST technology solves a problem that doesn't really need solving at the moment, because swiping a magnetic stripe card is still easy enough that people may not decide to replace that action with their phones. On the other hand, Samsung's technology decidedly trumps Apple's and Google's in terms of the number of terminals that Samsung Pay will work with. That could give it some traction against its larger, more entrenched competition at launch.

As someone who works in the banking industry, Graham maintains skepticism. "Long term, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, and Android Pay all face the same challenges in adoption. They need to convince consumers that not only are mobile payments secure, but also that mobile wallet is just as easy if not easier to use than plastic, and lastly but most importantly, that they bring unique benefits that you do not get from plastic card usage."

At least in South Korea, Samsung is already reporting success. Last week, the company wrote in a press release that in Samsung Pay's first month, $30 million (₩35.1 billion) worth of purchases were processed through the payments platform. 1.5 million transactions were initiated, and of active users of Samsung Pay, 10 percent used the service daily. Android Pay is too new to have similar data, and Apple closely guards such statistics, so we can't yet gauge how well Samsung Pay did in its debut month.

Still, it's worth watching, and maybe even worth trying out, if you have the necessary hardware and bank with a supporting card issuer.


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