Samsung is exploring new ways to get its flagship mobile payments solution in more markets around the world—and their latest attempt involves markets that aren’t covered in their premium phones.
The South Korean technology company plans to bring support for Samsung Pay on their non-premium smartphones lineup, including its budget J series models in India, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Until now, Samsung Pay has been positioned as a headline feature on the company’s premium offering: the Galaxy S series of smartphones and the newly introduced Galaxy A lineup.
Sources said the company will explore this opportunity starting in India in the coming months and use the learnings to see if it is viable to replicate this in other markets as well.
So how’s this going to work? As it turns out, recently-manufactured batches of several budget and mid-level Samsung smartphones have the hardware capability to support Samsung Pay, one of the sources said.
We were told that users with a low-end Samsung smartphone will have to use enter PIN for Samsung Pay authentication. Samsung Pay uses fingerprint as well as PIN for verification during transactions.
Last month, Mashable exclusively reported about Samsung’s plan to launch Samsung Pay in India in the first half of this year. Earlier this month, the company’s service went live in the country, albeit in limited capacity.
Samsung Pay app currently accepts Indians cards powered by MasterCard and Visa. It also supports Paytm, the largest mobile wallet app in the country. Both of our sources say the company’s still in talks with other card issuers, and the final rollout could happen as soon as the end of this month.
Amid the country’s demonetisation move last year, mobile wallet apps and other epayment solutions have seen an exponential growth in both transactions and app downloads. Samsung began looking into the Indian market amid the country’s fight to survive without cash.
In the months since, other players have also expressed intentions of bringing their mobile payment solutions to India. During his visit to India, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company was thinking about a mobile payment solution to India. The feature, Pichai said in January, could come baked in Android mobile operating system. Any such service is yet to go live in India.
While its other rival Apple remains tight lipped on the matter of expanding mobile payment systems, Samsung’s move could give it an instant boost in the nation, several analysts who spoke to Mashable last month said.
Furthermore, Samsung Pay supports MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission), a technology that allows it to send a magnetic signal from a compatible device to the payment terminal’s card reader.
This allows the smartphone to mimic a physical card, enabling the vast majority of existing terminals to support Samsung Pay as well. Most PoS terminals don’t support NFC, a hardware requirement needed for Apple Pay to work.
In India alone, Samsung has over 85 million smartphones, of which J series lineup phones amount to a 25 million install base, according to Tarun Pathak, senior analyst at marketing research firm Counterpoint.
Samsung has over 800 million smartphone users worldwide, more than 60 percent of which are non-premium handsets, Pathak added. And soon, that group of people will have the ability to pay with those handsets in yet another country, as the mobile payments race continues apace.