Samsung users in India will be able to make payments using debit cards, credit cards, mobile wallet like Paytm and unified payments interface (UPI) using a single app, with the launch of Samsung Pay on Wednesday.
The official launch of the app comes around two weeks after Samsung introduced its mobile payment service for select users in India who signed up for its early access program.Samsung Pay is currently available in 14 countries including the US, China, Spain and Australia, with India and Sweden being the latest entrants. It was initially launched in August 2015 in South Korea.
What is Samsung Pay?
It is a mobile payment service by Samsung India Electronics Pvt. Ltd. that allows you to pay for goods and services simply by waving your Samsung smartphone near a cash register instead of swiping a credit card or doling out your payment information.
Is this service available on all Samsung smartphones?
No, currently Samsung Pay works with select models of company’s line of Galaxy smartphones—Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016 and 2017) and Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016 and 2017).
How does it work?
The service works with all regular swipe-based card machines which support NFC (near field communication) or MST (magnetic secure transmission). The former works by building a high frequency wireless network between the phone and the payment terminal, while the latter creates a dynamic magnetic field between the smart phone and the payment terminal’s card reader.
The user can make the payment by tapping the smartphone on a NFC enabled point-of-sale machine, selecting the card and authenticating the transaction through biometrics—fingerprint—or a four digit PIN. With other cards terminal that does not support NFC feature, the payment can be made using MST and thus is convenient to use everywhere.
Who are on board?
Currently, the Samsung Pay app supports credit and debit cards of Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. For State Bank of India, only the credit cards are supported while the support for debit cards will be added sometime in the future.
Citibank card holders have also been integrated apart from Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
Samsung has partnered with Axis Bank to facilitate payments using UPI. It will also support payments through mobile wallets. Currently, Paytm, the largest digital payments firm in the country, is the only wallet on board.
Where can I use Samsung Pay?
Currently, the app has been designed to substitute the physical debit/credit cards. It uses the scanned image of the credit or debit card to generate a 16-digit token number for payments. The token number is randomly generated for every transaction and has nothing to do with your credit/debit card number.
It can be used for payments of goods and services at retail outlets simply by waving your Samsung smartphone near a cash register. Payments using the quick response (QR) code are also possible using the UPI QR code or Paytm QR code at merchants’ location.
“Earlier, the tap and go technology was restricted to cards but now Samsung has introduced this feature to smart phones as well. It is an urban-centric issuing side technology but the acquiring side also needs to be emphasized upon, “said Sunil Kulkarni, deputy managing director, Oxigen Services (India) Pvt. Ltd, a payment company.
Is it secure?
Samsung claims that it there is no storage of information, all the data is encrypted. There are three levels of security—payments can be authorized by scanning your fingerprint or entering your Samsung Pay PIN. All transactions use a random token instead of the card number, which means the actual card information isn’t shared while paying and details stay safe; and with Samsung Knox—a patented security technology, even if the phone is compromised, card information is still safely encrypted within a separate data vault.
Why should I try it?
It allows payments using debit cards, credit cards, mobile wallet-Paytm (as of now) and UPI; all through a single app.
Also, the fact that Samsung Pay uses both NFC and MST for payments makes it usable at a large number of retail outlets. MST sends a magnetic signal from your device to the payment terminal’s card reader (to emulate swiping a physical card without having to upgrade the terminal’s software or hardware).However, its success will depend largely on how quickly it can process a transaction.
However, as of now Samsung Pay only works with select Samsung handsets selling upwards of Rs 20,000, making it inaccessible for many. Also, the service doesn’t allow online payments and can only be used for payments at retail outlets, so we don’t expect it to replace your mobile wallets anytime soon.