Samsung Pay, a digital payments app, launched in India

The digital payments app Samsung Pay enables consumers to pay for products and services by waving their Samsung smartphone near a cash register


NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and H.C. Hong, president cum CEO, Samsung Southwest Asia launch Samsung Pay app in Gurugram on Wednesday. Photo: PTI
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and H.C. Hong, president cum CEO, Samsung Southwest Asia launch Samsung Pay app in Gurugram on Wednesday. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Samsung Electronics on Wednesday launched a mobile payment service that enables consumers to pay for products and services by simply waving their Samsung smart phone near a cash register.

With Samsung Pay, consumers don’t have to swipe a debit or credit card nor dole out their payment information. It allows payments using debit cards, credit cards, mobile wallet Paytm and unified payments interface (UPI) with a single app.

“The best part about the app is that it integrates debit/credit cards, mobile wallets and UPI, making it interoperable,” Amitabh Kant, CEO of the government think tank NITI Aayog, said at the launch event.

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.

Samsung claims there is no need for any software or hardware update of the existing point-of-sale terminals at retail outlets for making payments using MST technology.

Samsung Pay works with select models of the company’s Galaxy line of smart phones--Samsung Galaxy Note5, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016 and 2017) and Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016 and 2017).

It also works on the Gear S3 smart watch, if paired with an Android phone. The Gear S3 is a Tizen OS-based smart watch and works with all Android phones running Android 4.4 and higher and Apple iPhones running iOS 9.0.

“Samsung Pay is highly secure through the signature KNOX Platform, fingerprint authentication and tokenization. We have partnered with major banks and card networks to give our consumers the widest range of choices, and are working on bringing more and more partners on board soon,” said Asim Warsi, senior vice president, mobile business, Samsung India.

Currently, the 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. Citibank card holders have also been integrated, apart from Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

Samsung India has also partnered with Axis Bank to facilitate payments using UPI and Paytm--the largest mobile wallet firm in the country.

“Earlier, the tap and go technology was restricted to cards but now Samsung has introduced this feature to smart phones as well,” said Sunil Kulkarni, deputy managing director, Oxigen Services (India) Pvt. Ltd, a payments company. “It is an urban-centric issuing side technology but the acquiring side also needs to be emphasized upon.”

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 programme.

Samsung Pay is currently available in 12 countries including the US, China, Spain and Australia. It was initially launched in August 2015 in South Korea.

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