Xiaomi is the latest company to unveil yet another mobile payments service. Xiaomi’s new service which goes by the name Mi Pay was reportedly unveiled last night at an event in China.
Mi Pay is an NFC-based mobile payments system and as such users will require NFC-enabled devices. NFC-based payments systems work by having users key in their card details to their smartphones which in turn can be used at payment terminals anywhere the service is supported when checking out, totally eradicating the need for a user to carry with them multiple cards. This is essentially how other mobile payments services we’ve seen unveiled so far from Apple (Apple Pay), Google (Android Pay) and Samsung (Samsung Pay), work.
With Mi Pay, Xiaomi is essentially going after the three services, two from rivals (Apple and Samsung).
Even though the service requires NFC-enabled devices, Xiaomi only has its latest flagship smartphone, the Mi 5, as the only device on record that is NFC-enabled in recent times. The others, the Xiaomi 2A and the Xiaomi 3, are relics as it has been 3 years since they were launched. This means users of the Mi 5 in China where the service is launching, can use their devices to make payments. It also means that going forward, NFC is likely to be a common feature on most Xiaomi devices.
Xiaomi is said to be partnering with a number of Chinese financial institutions (banks) to make Mi Pay a success.
Since the company is not even making so much noise about the service, it is hard at this point to wish for international availability though that should definitely be on the cards long term as Xiaomi is no longer a China-only brand and even in China, as per the latest data from the IDC, it is getting kicked from the behind by other brands.