The Samsung Galaxy S4 has arrived, debuting yesterday at what can charitably be described as a very different kind of product launch, which involved dance numbers and sketch comedy. The phone itself cannot be described as being greatly different from the Galaxy S3, but the new device does include a couple of features that will make it easier for users to adopt and use mobile payments.
As expected, the S4 includes NFC capabilities and will be the first Samsung device to come pre-loaded with the Visa payWave applet in the embedded secure element. (The SE is where the phone securely stores payment account information.) That means users will have mobile payment capabilities the moment they unbox their devices. They will still have to load payment credentials into the wallet, but the preloaded app eliminates the need to download a mobile wallet application.
Additionally, as a part of the agreement between Visa and Samsung that was announced at Mobile World Congress, issuers, network operators and financial institutions will be able to use Visa’s provisioning services to load accounts to the SE.
While the news was expected that Visa’s applet would be included in the device, one interesting detail about the SE is that Visa won’t have exclusive access to it for long. In the press release for the new devices, Samsung said that “more payment applets from multiple brands are planned to be preloaded into the embedded secure element in the coming months.”
The S4 will also support SIM-based secure elements as well.