Xiaomi quietly unveiled its Mi Pay mobile payment service in China back in mid-August and is now ready to launch the service to consumers, complete with support for accounts and cards from 20 banks in the country.
Xiaomi has announced that Mi Pay is being launched with support from China UnionPay, which is the country’s state-run equivalent to Visa or Mastercard that connects up the baking system. This means that debit and credit cards from a selection of compatible banks will work with the service. In total, credit cards from 20 banks currently support Mi Pay, accompanied by debit cards from 12 banks. The list of supported banks includes Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of Communications and China Merchants Bank.
“We believe that Mi Pay will be a key driving force in promoting the development of China’s mobile payments industry, and deliver much more convenience to our users,” – Xiaomi founder and CEO, Lei Jun
However, Xiaomi isn’t the only company offering mobile payments in China. Alibaba’s Alipay, Tencent’s WeChat Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay are among the most popular options in the country. Customers already have plenty to choose from, and Xiaomi is going to have a tough time convincing customers to pick its system given its limited device support. Currently, only the company’s Mi 5 handset is supported, but the system will likely be heading to other phones in the near future.
Just like Android Pay and Apple Pay, Mi Pay is based exclusively on NFC technology. Up to eight cards can be tied to any one device, and customers can deactivate cards through the official website if their smartphone is stolen. Mi Pay users can also benefit from promotions and rewards offered by the banks.
As as well as bank cards, Mi Pay supports public transport cards from six different cities, so there’s no need to carry around separate transport cards. Xiaomi’s mobile payment system also worth with some loyalty, gift, and membership cards.
Xiaomi and China UnionPay launch Mi Pay in China
First smartphone company in the world to support contactless payments through both bank cards and public transportation cards
BEIJING, 1 September 2016 — Xiaomi and China UnionPay, one of the world’s largest payment networks, jointly launched Mi Pay today, introducing a revolutionary way to pay with Xiaomi smartphones in China. At launch today, Mi Pay supports debit and credit cards from 20 banks.
At the same time, Xiaomi announced that it now supports public transportation cards from six cities across China. With this, Xiaomi has become the first smartphone company in the world to support contactless payments through both bank cards and public transportation cards.
Users can simply add their China UnionPay and public transportation cards to the Mi Wallet app, eliminating the need to bring their wallets out and making it even more convenient to go about their daily lives.
As China’s only bank card association operating an interbank transaction settlement system, China UnionPay is now one of the world’s largest payment networks, alongside Visa and Mastercard.
Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun said: “China UnionPay is a leader in the payments industry with global influence. In the field of mobile payments, China UnionPay has been committed to collaborating with various stakeholders to build a structured and sustainable ecosystem. After cooperating with China UnionPay over the past three years, Xiaomi is now truly excited about our joint partnership to launch Mi Pay. We believe that Mi Pay will be a key driving force in promoting the development of China’s mobile payments industry, and deliver much more convenience to our users.”
At launch, Mi Pay supports credit cards from 20 banks and debit cards from 12 banks including those from Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of Communications and China Merchants Bank.
In recent years, NFC technology has been dramatically changing the landscape of mobile payments in China. Mi Pay makes use of NFC technology — Xiaomi smartphones with NFC (for example, Mi 5) have a built-in NFC chip with a separate secure element chip that has passed the “EAL 6+” security test. Through a variety of tests, the secure element chip has been proven to withstand a variety of invasive, semi-invasive and non-invasive attacks, providing users with the highest level of data protection and encryption.
Other than hardware-level security, Xiaomi has also incorporated multiple authentication mechanisms that protect user information in these scenarios: adding a bank card, smartphone theft or loss, and attempted fraud. For example, users have to be logged in to their Mi Account when they are adding a bank card, which ensures the safety of their personal data. For transactions, Mi Pay employs tokenization to protect plain text credit card information, and makes users verify their fingerprint for maximum security. If a device is lost, users can turn off Mi Pay through the official website, and find their device using Mi Cloud.
Binding a bank card to Mi Pay takes just four steps: Open the Mi Wallet app, select the option to add a bank card, key in the bank card details, and go through SMS verification for final confirmation.
In stores, instead of having to swipe a card when making payment, users just have to hold their device near China UnionPay’s QuickPass-enabled POS terminals and the bank card details will pop up. After fingerprint verification, the device is then activated and can be used as a bank card. This results in an extremely simplified payment process: users can complete their transactions just by holding their smartphone near the POS terminal with a finger on the fingerprint scanner.
Up to eight cards can be tied to any one device. Mi Pay users also get to benefit from promotions and rewards offered by the banks.
China UnionPay is a bank card association that has become a crucial part of China’s bank card industry, playing an essential role in the interconnection between bank card systems. Its main responsibilities include establishing and operating an inter-bank transaction settlement system in China, and promoting unified bank card standards and specifications.