Samsung Pay launched in India; how does it work, secure or not and everything else

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    • Supports PayTM and UPI
    • Three-layer security
    • Starts from today

Even before Apple or Google could foray into it, Samsung Electronics has managed to tap into the mobile payments services market in India. Samsung has announced its ‘flagship’ mobile payments service, Samsung Pay, today in India.

Users with compatible Samsung devices can now just make payments by tapping their devices on to the merchants’ Point-of-Sale (POS) devices, or with their peers too.

How does it work?

Samsung Pay uses two kinds of technologies to make these payments – Samsung’s own Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) and Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC payment systems have been around for a while (although not in India), it’s MST that makes a difference.

MST essentially works like a credit or debit card’s magnetic strip, and sends magnetic information through waves to the standard POS terminal. Samsung claims that because of MST, Samsung Pay will work with most major POS terminals in India. Merchants will not have to get new equipment to enable Samsung Pay, if they already have the latest POS terminals.

Samsung Pay

To  make a payment, users will have to launch the Samsung Pay app, select the registered card or wallet from within the app, authenticate the payment through a fingerprint scan or PIN, and take the phone near the POS terminal.

How does it take money?

Upon registration with the service, users will have to authenticate their banking details or debit/credit cards with the service, and at present, supported cards and banks include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, SBI Card and Standard Chartered Bank. Citibank will join the list soon, according to Samsung.

Apart from that, Samsung Pay allows users to link their PayTM accounts and the state-owned Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to the app.

Is it secure?

Samsung Pay uses three different levels of security for the transactions. These include fingerprint authentication (using the phone’s fingerprint scanner), card tokenization and Samsung’s own KNOX security system. To make the payment at a POS terminal, the user will have to authenticate the payment using one of these. As Samsung Pay uses card tokenization for both debit and credit cards, card details are not saved on the device itself. The tokens are saved on a separate chip, secured by KNOX.

Users will also be able to make secure peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions using PayTM and UPI, by scanning QR codes, and getting one-time codes or OTPs for money transfers and payments.

Which devices are supported?

The Samsung smartphones that are currently compatible with Samsung Pay are Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S7, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy A5 (2016), Galaxy A7 (2016), Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017).

In the future, this will be extended to the wearables as well, starting soon with the Samsung Gear S3 Smartwatch.


When can we start tapping?

From today.