Paying with Style: The Changing World Behind Mobile Payments
More people are using mobile payment systems than ever before, recognizing the convenience and the security of not having to carry so many credit and debit cards with them and running the risk of losing them or becoming a victim of theft. Here are some of the mobile payments you can use for online and offline payments:
- Apple Pay: This mobile form of payment works with TouchID on your iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPad as well as by double clicking on the side button on your Apple Watch. Since none of your credit, debit, loyalty, store or membership card numbers are stored on your device, it’s a secure method for online and offline payments. This pay system has been integrated with Apple Wallet, which is already designed to store reward cards, ticket information, boarding passes and more. It only takes seconds to add more cards to the Wallet app and use these with Apple Pay. When doing transactions, a unique Device Account Number is provided for that transaction and ensures a higher level of security. If you have lost your device or had it stolen, you can use the Find My iPhone app and put it in Lost Mode so that it suspends your Apple Pay account. It’s available in the iTune store.
- Android Pay: Designed specifically for mobile phones with Android operating systems, this payment alternative only requires that you unlock your phone and put it close to a contactless terminal. There is no reason to open even an app to pay. When you tap it at participating merchants, you can also take full advantage of loyalty points and offers that are immediately applied at checkout. To guarantee a secure payment process, none of your credit or debit card numbers are sent with your payment but use a virtual account number instead that is of no use to any hacker. The mobile payment system’s other layers of security include a transaction record of purchases with merchant names and numbers as well as the Android Device Manager to lock instantly down a device and wipe it clean in case your phone is lost or stolen. Android Play can be downloaded from GooglePlay.
- Samsung Pay: Now accepted practically everywhere, it is claimed to work in more stores than any other mobile payment system. Samsung Pay allows you to swipe or tap to make your payment. You confirm payment with your fingerprint and then hover your phone over the card reader. Samsung ensures secure transactions with multiple layers of security built into the mobile payment process. This mobile payment system works with all Samsung devices, including Galaxy, and the credit or debit cards used must be linked to a qualifying bank and have the Visa, Mastercard, or American Express symbol. It’s available on GooglePlay. In 2015, it acquired LoopPay to expand its technology and customer base, folding the company into Samsung Pay as of 2016.
- Google Wallet: Launching before these other mobile payment systems, Google Wallet set a precedent by offering a way to make purchases online or send money to friends and family. The mobile app does work with Android-compatible phones. Although it currently does not provide the same depth of features like Apple Pay or the others, Google is in the process of developing more technology to make this a competitive mobile payment system. By partnering with Softcard, Google Wallet plans to make its system compatible with loyalty, gift, and credit cards while also providing access to promotions associated with those cards and preferred retailers.
- Plastc: Although it looks like just another credit card that has a magnetic stripe and barcode display, it’s a sophisticated device with an EMV chip that offers compatibility with retailers while also giving you the convenience of information storage for debit, credit, gift, loyalty and membership cards. This is a relatively new mobile system that features four authorization steps, including four-digit PIN, name and social security card matching, card verification and a biometrics facial authentication scan. It can be placed into Emergency Card Mode and Lock Mode in the case of loss or theft. The Plastc Wallet Companion App allows you to swap cards, add new ones and track spending, which allows unlimited storage. Currently, the Plastc Card only holds 20 cards, so this app provides a way to ensure you can store all your important cards in one place. With a Personal Finance Management System, you can also see all your bank account balances and transaction histories in one place rather than using multiple bank apps.
- Coin: Similar to Plastc regarding providing you with an alternative to carrying all those different debit, credit, gift, membership and loyalty cards, this device is focused on providing a quick way to pay by just pressing a button and selecting a stored card to pay with. You can now swipe or tap to pay. For security purposes, it can auto-unlock and show your last known location. It is also considered to be a new mobile payment system with devices only starting to ship out in spring 2015 and a new enhanced version ready to roll out this year. Their website shows a video, illustrating how Coin and your photo ID may be the only things you will need to keep in your wallet. It was proven to work in locations across the globe with a variety of card readers for greater convenience.
- Swyp: Like Plastc and Coin, Swyp offers a card – this one metal – that is supposed to replace carrying a wallet full of cards. You can import all your cards using a magnetic reader that gets plugged into your smartphone’s headphone jack. For security, it has an automatic proximity lock feature. For others that have Swyp, you can exchange gift cards digitally. More features are being added to enhance its functionality.
- Stratos Card: As the fourth type of card replacement mobile payment system, Stratos Card also is designed to simplify your wallet and combine all cards into one card that does it all for you. It also uses a plug-in reader for your smartphone so you can log and store all types of cards that you use on a daily basis.
- PayPal: Its mobile app provides a way to take a picture of credit or debit card and then allow you to add that to your account so you can use it for purchases or to send payment. The company acquired Paydiant, a mobile wallet solution, to increase what it can offer its customers for a mobile environment and to stay competitive.
- Square Cash: This mobile payment option deals in cash, allowing you to exchange money with others without fees. It can be used for everything from paying rent to donations to splitting the dinner bill with friends.
These mobile payment systems continue to evolve with new market entrants and a growing trend toward mergers and acquisitions as competition intensifies and more consumers and businesses become used to this new way of conducting transactions. While some consumers are early adopters, with growing acceptance of mobile payment systems, others appear to be hanging back and watching which of these emerges before selecting a solution. The market leaders remain to be seen, but apparently large players like Apple, Google, Samsung and Android are planning on sticking around with the aim of taking the top spot.