First impressions of using Samsung Pay in India: It does ‘just work’

SamMobile

SamMobile
SamMobile
“No sir, there is no Paytm support.” “Sorry sir, it won’t work.” “Sir, this machine doesn’t support phone payment.” Those are some of the reactions I have received ever since I started using Samsung Pay at stores here in India following the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
. The first week was frustrating, too. Samsung Pay worked twice at my favorite restaurant, but not anywhere else.

The reason? Well, it was because I was following Samsung’s illustration in the Samsung Pay app, which says the phone should be placed on the top of the card reader/payment terminal, too literally. Most of the terminals I tried either said there was a card detection error, and a couple of machines simply blinked each time I placed the phone on them. But the second week saw me going from “meh, this thing sucks” to repeatedly telling (and annoying) my friends that I had just made another payment using Samsung Pay.

Here’s a video of a transaction I made using Samsung Pay while purchasing the Galaxy A7 (2017) (note that card detection happens instantly on most machines, especially those that aren’t wired to the retailer’s payment terminal):


My opinion changed once I realized that placing the phone against the side of the machines is what it work properly, as that is where credit and debit cards are swiped to initiate transactions (NFC-enabled machines, however, should work by placing the phone on top). I also realized that the upper half of the S7 edge is where the MST chip resides. I was trying to align the display on the card readers squarely with the center of the phone, so there were a higher number of failures than I would like to admit in the beginning.

The bigger problem was the unwillingness of a few shopkeepers to let me try paying through the phone. This was likely because very few card readers in India work on NFC. As a result, those who have tried using their banking apps at these stores would have failed to make payment, which, in turn, must have suggested to the storekeepers that paying through mobile devices doesn’t work with their payment terminals.

These stores did let me try Samsung Pay, but their lack of enthusiasm meant I didn’t try more than twice before turning away in dismay, which is why it took me an entire week to figure out the proper way of operation. Well, that and the fact that India is a densely populated country and has considerable queues in big stores, so I wasn’t willing to hold up the folks behind me just so I could try this new way of payment and possibly suffer the wrath of a few impatient shoppers.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


The solution, no doubt, is educating stores and their cashiers about Samsung Pay, something the Korean giant has clearly not done at this point. Maybe it is because the service hasn’t launched for everyone yet, but it’s a step the company should be taking from the very beginning so that there are no holdups for people who do try to pay with their Samsung phone. The fact that many retailers were quick to point out that they don’t support Paytm (a popular online payment wallet in India) as they realized I was bringing my phone close to their payment terminals is the only indication we need that this is not something that will be immediately successful.

Well, at least not in a market like India, where cash payments still rule the roost, even despite the government’s recent push towards digital payments. Also an obstacle is the fact that the Samsung phones that support Samsung Pay are all mid-range and flagship devices, which don’t sell in high numbers compared to the company’s budget handsets. There have to be enough people out there trying this out to bring it to the limelight. It has been rumored that Samsung Pay could come to the Galaxy J lineup, so there is hope, and the public release of the service should also bring a positive effect.

But whatever the problems, you have to try Samsung Pay to see just how effortless it is. Samsung’s
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
, as the service supports every single payment terminal/card reader out there as long as it supports credit and debit cards. I have seen cashiers at the stores I visited smile after being impressed with what I had pulled off, and the fact that I no longer have to reach for my wallet (and then put the thing back in my pocket) makes these payments a very convenient affair. It helps that most of the major Indian banks are supported already, with more to come in the future.

I’m still bringing my wallet into stores as there is always a possibility Samsung Pay won’t work, but I’m looking forward to the day I can simply carry my phone around to buy things. In fact, such a day might not be far as Samsung Pay hasn’t once failed for me in the last week. Samsung’s biggest (and perhaps only) task is to bring stores around the country up to speed. Marketing the thing out on the streets will also help, and I suppose the only reason Samsung isn’t doing that right now is that it is testing the waters before it makes a big move.

Have you tried using Samsung Pay since it went live in India? How has the experience been? Let us know by getting a conversation going in the comments!

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top