Can Samsung Pay benefit from India's cash crisis?

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Little-noticed during India’s cash-crunch late last year — triggered by the government’s demonetization of about 80% of its currency — was Samsung Pay quietly testing the waters in India with an eye to opening up vital new digital payment options in a nation that relies heavily on cash for everyday transactions.

Samsung Pay is now set to roll out in India during the first half of this year through a deal with American Express, according to Mashable. Samsung is reportedly also in discussions with Visa and Mastercard to expand Samsung Pay’s reach in India to their brands. The deals would enable consumers to make contactless mobile payments with newer Samsung-branded handsets at any merchant terminals that support those card brands.

The move could be a coup for Samsung, which has been aggressively expanding its reach in markets around the world, seeking to capitalize on the advantage Samsung Pay has over mobile payment methods. Unlike Apple Pay and Android Pay, its MST technology simulates the swipe of a magstripe card to enable contactless payments at merchant terminals that aren’t equipped with Near Field Communication.

Following the Indian government’s elimination of key currency bills late last year, mobile wallet apps from Paytm and MobiKwik, along with Visa, saw major surges in consumer usage.

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