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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  • Ahsan

    I agree that the for NFC enabled smartphones, a different approach can be followed but then again, not many people in Pakistan can afford NFC enabled smart phones. So when a company is making strategy to enter into new business, the obvious choice would be the majority. But good suggestion for next step of Easypay.

    Yes, allowing linking of debit/credit cards would be a useful feature. This would allow banked population to embrace mobile payments.

    • Khurram ShahzAd

      But wouldn’t a visa/master card powered card will do the trick for people who do not have NFC feature in their mobile device. Plus those will be accepted at much much more places.

      • Ahsan

        The idea behind all the apps linking your card (such as Beam) is convenience. Instead of carrying multiple cards, you carry your phone. It takes time for any technology to flourish. If POS would have become mainstream in Pakistan, easypaisa wouldnt have jumped into payments anyway.

  • Khurram ShahzAd

    So this is simply a joke. If I have to carry a separate NFC tag, than will prefer using the visa card which is accepted all over. Carrying an NFC card to use for very few places does not make sense. Yes well said, it defeats the purpose of NFC payments, which are for ease of use, intended for using mobile devices, not those separate tags you have to carry.

    • Ahsan

      Its not a NFC card. Its a sticker about 3 centimeters in diameter which you have to paste on your phone’s back.

  • M. Aamir. M

    Grammatical Mistakes in the article are really shameful!

    1. A NFC sticker —> An NFC striker
    2. An USSD confirmation –> A USSD confirmation
    3. A NFC capable smartphone –> An NFC capable smartphone.

    A Simple Trick:

    NFC ko urdu main bolain, agr alif این ایف سی aye Urdu main likhty hye to to “An” aye ga! Agr Alif na aye to “A” aye ga. The same in USSD, یو is main alif nhi a rha, یو a rha hai is liye “A” lgy ga. The same with “unievrsty” It’s a university, not an university. Samjh to aap ko agy hogi :D

    • Mansoor

      A USSD confirmation popup is correct. “An” is only used in front of words that begin with a vowel *sound* not necessarily a vowel letter. So for example you say “an hour” even though “h” is a consonant.

      • M. Aamir. M

        LOL…!! The author has corrected the mistakes :D @aamir7:disqus bnda bta deta hai yar :P

      • Yes! From what I know, earlier the rule was that start with a vowel but it was changed later on to what you’re saying.

      • Yes! From what I know, earlier the rule was that start with a vowel but it was changed later on to what you’re saying.

    • Muhammad Yasir

      werent u an author here ?
      or am i confusing you with someone else?

      • M. Aamir. M

        Am not an author, Brother :D

        • Muhammad Yasir

          k.

    • Khalid Yaldram

      ager english dhang sa nahi likh saktay tu urdu ma likhtay sharam ati ha ……………

      • Guest

        Kyoonke Urdu sirf 7% population ki mother tongue he.
        Aur baqi 93% bhi Urdu native speakers nai. Aur unn ki English unki Urdu se tu phr vi bahtar hoti he.

    • hamdani

      well done! full marks, give urself a medal.

  • Mansoor

    Is this implementation less secure than if a smartphone was involved? If you read about how it’s done when a smart device is involved you will see that public key cryptography is used to generate digital signatures authorizing the transaction:

    http://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-nfc-works-and-mobile-payments/

    Here nothing like that is happening. In fact the tag can be disposed of entirely. Just give the shop keeper your mobile account number and have him make a request for payment. That leads to a USSD popup on your phone which you can approve or deny.

  • Eli Ehsan

    Quick Question! How a person who can’t afford NFC phone will find a Need to USE EASYPAY NFC ever?. #Bleh

    • Mansoor

      Access to formal financial services offers huge benefits to the poor. It is only in Pakistan where such access is denied to the vast majority so people don’t understand the benefits of it.

      FYI even today the top users of easypaisa money transfer are poor people sending money from urban centers to rural areas. Mostly these are OTC transactions but if they bothered to create mobile accounts that money transfer would be completely free. Not even banks can match that.

      • Eli Ehsan

        I know that Sir. Most of my people in RURAL SINDH do that all the time. but my Query was regarding the NFC Easypay stuff. what’s the need of it if one don’t have NFC gadget?

    • That is why they are using the “sticker” instead of inbuilt NFC in the smartphone. And thats what the author is complaining about. :-)

  • “you can shop from any retailer that has NFC payments facility (you can find the list here)”

    This link isn’t working for me – anyone else having the same issue?

    • Although it’s working for me but if you’re still having trouble, you can find this link on the Easypaisa website as well :-)

  • Rizwan Shakir

    English Grammar Obsession!

  • Mohsin Ali

    110% agreed with the suggestions given to easypaisa

  • kim

    hey everyone sorry i am off the topic but could anyone tell me is there any issue going on with torrents..i am using zong 4g wifi device but for the last one week i am getting 100-150kb/s downloading speed. thanks

    • shujaswati

      yeah, they are throttling the speeds. U can use TOR Relay to bypass.

  • ysk

    Most people using easypaisa I guess dont have phones with NFC. They must have worked out their target audience. And if it works well, maybe go to phone based ones.

  • Emptïñêss Mahaveer Jain

    Thanks for sharing this article, i got some knowledge about it..

  • Syed Abdul Wahab

    One thing is being discussed here again n again that you have to carry the NFC sticker or need to paste it at the back of the phone. You dont actually need to carry the tag all the time. Although tag is very small and thin to place but still if someone considers handling it s a hassle, then you can just enter the easypaisa mobile account number in the vendor machine and the payment will be through by entering the security pin from your mobile phone.

    • If you have to narrate your number to the retailer, than that isn’t NFC payment, is it? :-)

  • Faisal Ashfaq

    Nice initiative!!

  • Faisal Ashfaq

    WOW! Me likes it.

  • Haroon Rashid

    This years GSMA2016 Barcelona where EasyPaisa is to be crowned as the flag bearer to contactless payment, and Micro Finance. Which is alright. I’d subscribed the NFC. First thing which we don’t realise is how to protect ourselves from intrusion/hacking of the mobile data. One is Blue tooth which is a major risk, second it is NFC tag. There should be a wallet to protect the NFC, and Blue tooth if it is accidentally, or purposely hacked. I suggest our Cyber Security Authority should also look into the safety wallet made of special film to protect the accidental or purposed hacked of NFC and blue tooth. This is for personal health which is EMF radiation.