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Samsung Pay Mini brings digital payments to low-end phones, but misses out on its key feature

Samsung Pay Mini debuts in India but could have been a lot better.

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Digital payment modes have existed in India for quite a few years. But it was the radical decision of the ‘demonetization’ of old Rs 500 and 1000 currency notes that truly ushered in the era of digital India. Now that necessary liquidity is back into the Indian system, digital payments may have slowed. But the key takeaway has been that Indians have been pretty quick to adapt to digital transactions – wallets like Paytm, Mobikwik and UPI-based banking apps, financial exchanges have become much easier. For corporates, demonetization has opened a new market opportunity in India, one of the biggest developing economies in the world. Already, we have seen the likes of Paytm becoming synonymous with digital payments. Truecaller and WhatsApp are also eying this segment. In the meanwhile, Samsung, the biggest smartphone player in India, is experimenting with its own Samsung Pay service. The service launched in India earlier this year and is available with select top-end Samsung smartphones. In my previous write up, I had stressed that Samsung Pay’s success banks on wider availability of the service, especially on budget smartphones. ALSO READ Samsung Pay: A payment service with immense opportunity, but challenges exist

Now, Samsung is actually doing that by rolling out a new version, rather inferior, of Samsung Pay mini with its Galaxy J series budget smartphones. Called Samsung Pay Mini, the service is available for the Galaxy J7 Max, J7 Prime, and J7 2016 smartphones. Considering Samsung has a huge user base in India, there’s very little skepticism around the success of its payment service, ultimately benefit the ongoing Digital India campaign. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro, Galaxy J7 Max launched in India, prices start from Rs 17,900: Specifications, features

That being said, the current version of Samsung Pay Mini, in my opinion, is bit uninspiring and brings very little to the table. The top highlight of the service at the moment is the integration of UPI and wallet like Paytm, allowing users to have a single platform to make digital payments. Users can also make payments through QR codes for in-store payments. But the mini version misses out on the biggest USP of Samsung Pay altogether –ability to make contactless payments at the traditional Point-of-Sale (PoS) terminals. Essentially, the feature allowed users to store their credit/debit card details in the app, and make contactless payments. This also did away with the need to carry your debit/credit card all the times. DON’T MISS: Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro, Galaxy J7 Max hands-on and first impressions

The current limitation of the Samsung Pay Mini can be attributed to the unavailability of NFC technologies in its budget smartphones. Moreover, it also does not allow Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology-based payments, which in my opinion is a much bigger loss for the service. In the case you are not aware, the MST technology mimics the magnetic strips that are used in standard debit and credit cards and lets you make payments at the conventional PoS terminals.

The sort of universality of Samsung Pay made the service quite special and unique. But Samsung Pay Mini misses out on precisely the reason why a new user could have considered Samsung Pay in the first place. For now, Samsung Pay Mini just solves one problem that is not needing multiple apps for digital payments. However, I think, saving one extra app from download is barely going to make a difference. Of course, the expansion of the service to lower-end smartphones is a welcome move, but in this era of microSD and higher amount of onboard storage, downloading one extra app will barely make any significant impact.

Samsung, perhaps, knows about the challenge, and has said it will be adding cards support in the mini version of the app as well. One of the things Samsung could do going forward is to offer devices that are compatible with Samsung Pay if it’s actually serious about getting in this space or propelling the Digital India drive. That being said, Samsung Pay in India is anyway inferior to the full fledged version available in South Korea. ALSO READ: How to use Samsung Pay in India: Our complete guide on how to setup and transact

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  • Published Date: June 15, 2017 6:25 PM IST
  • Updated Date: June 15, 2017 6:32 PM IST