First Impressions of EasyPay NFC Payments

Not long ago, Easypaisa introduced a new service for its mobile account customers called Easypay NFC payments. While it’s still only available in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi, we were super excited to try it out since it is a commendable step forward for mobile payments in Pakistan.

So imagine our surprise when we signed up for Easypay NFC payments and realized that they aren’t exactly as promised. Before we go into the details of what’s wrong with the Easypay NFC payment methodology, let us look at how to signup and how they work.

How to Signup for Easypay NFC Payments?

Since Easypay NFC payments facility is only available in selected cities and at selected outlets, signing up for it is relatively difficult as opposed to signing up for an Easypaisa ATM Card.

  1. Type “EP” and send it to 422.
  2. Easypay NFC payments customer representative will get in touch with you.

Alternatively,

  1. Call 3737 from your Telenor number.
  2. Ask the customer representative there to sign you up for Easypay NFC payments service.

Once the CRO activates your NFC payments service, they’ll ask you for your address and dispatch an NFC sticker which you’ll be using for your NFC payments.

How Do Easypay NFC Payments Work?

Once you’ve received your Easypay NFC sticker, you can shop from any retailer that has NFC payments facility (you can find the list here) and follow the following steps:

  1. Tap your Easypay NFC tag to the retailer’s device.
  2. A USSD confirmation popup for the payment will appear on your phone.
  3. After PIN verification, you’ll received a payment confirmation message.

Now, if you’re not familiar with how other NFC payment services (e.g. Samsung Pay or Apple Pay) usually work, you might be wondering that what is wrong here? For example, let us consider Samsung Pay. To use it, a user has to enter their credit/debit card’s information into the Samsung Pay application. Then, when making a payment, you simply tap your phone to the NFC terminal, authorize using a passcode (or fingerprint scanner) and Samsung Pay makes the payment to the retailer using the selected card.

Easypay NFC payments methodology defeats the purpose of NFC payments. It isn’t exactly mobile payment if I have to carry a separate NFC tag instead of using my mobile phone’s built-in NFC chip. The whole purpose of NFC payments is to make payments easy and secure by replacing your cards with a mobile wallet, which you cannot as easily drop or have stolen.

Why Go For Such An Unusual Implementation?

One of the solid reasons why — in my opinion — Easypaisa might have chosen to go for such an unusual implementation is probably reaching more people. Using NFC stickers instead of built-in NFC chip allows users even without an NFC capable phone to use Easypay NFC payments.

Even though this is a good thing but still this could’ve been an added feature instead of being the base of the implementation. I say this mainly because the target market of NFC payments are users with NFC capable smartphones but unfortunately sticking this NFC tag to the back of an NFC capable smartphone handicaps the built-in NFC chip.

Improvements We Want to See

Don’t take us wrong here because we don’t want to discourage Easypay NFC payments but instead we want to see them improved so that Pakistani consumers can also appreciate the ease and security of NFC payments. For that, we think Easypaisa needs to consider two major improvements:

  • First of all, there should be an Easypaisa mobile wallet application so that users with NFC capable smartphones don’t have to wait for or use NFC stickers at all.
  • Secondly, instead of supporting only Easypaisa mobile accounts, Easypay NFC payments should also add support for other credit or debit cards.

Potential of NFC Payments in Pakistan

Our younger generation is quite inclined towards using new payment methods due to the ease and security they offer. Over the past few years we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of people using credit/debit cards and other unorthodox payment methods such as Easypaisa, MobiCash and UBL Omni. These are also the reasons why I think that if properly implemented and launched in Pakistan, NFC payments have a huge market just like credit/debit cards.

If you have any different or similar thoughts on the matter, please do share them with us in the comments below.

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