Samsung Pay to launch in India in first half of 2017

Posted on Feb 3 2017 - 9:17am by Huzoor Bux

Domestic companies cashing in on India’s cash crunched market with epayment solutions will soon have competition from a global technology giant — Samsung.

Samsung plans to launch its Samsung Pay mobile payment solution in India in the first half of 2017, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

For bringing Samsung Pay in India, the company has partnered with American Express (Amex), said the person, adding that the company may be exploring opportunities with giants such as Visa and MasterCard as well.   

American Express has been one of the partners of Samsung for the epayment solutions in several other regions including the USA, South Korea and Australia. Elsewhere, Samsung has also partnered with MasterCard and Visa, the two financial services companies that see billions of transactions worldwide on their networks every year. 

Samsung began testing the service in India in December last year. Earlier this week, the South Korean technology company rolled out an update to the Galaxy Note5 smartphone in India which included the Samsung Pay app. 

Samsung Pay, which rivals Android Pay and Google Pay, requires NFC-equipped point-of-sale terminals for some of its features. That’s a hard sell as it would require Samsung to convince merchants across the country to upgrade their existing point-of-sale machines. Most of the point-of-sale devices in India don’t support NFC. 

Samsung Pay’s reach could be limited in India, as the service only works with its high-end smartphones.

The support for various cards for transactions is part of the things Samsung is trying to solve with Pay, however. The mobile payment solution has also been positioned as the central database that can store multiple card from various banks as well as Samsung’s reward cards and serve as a fast-getaway for any online transaction with a tap or code. 

However, Samsung Pay’s reach could be limited in India, as the service only works with high-end premium Samsung smartphones.

Samsung’s interest in India despite all the trouble is understandable. In the light of demonetisation, wallet apps such as Paytm and MobiKwik have reported astronomical growth in transactions and downloads. Paytm said last year that its service was handling more requests than all the plastic cards combined. 

While Apple has remained tight lipped on its plans to bring Apple Pay in India, Tim Cook visited ICICI Bank’s headquarters and met CEO Chanda Kochhar during his India visit last year, which sparked speculations of the possible launch of Apple Pay in the country.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said last month that the company could introduce a mobile payment solution in Android for the Indian market. He didn’t share a timeframe.

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