9 Ways to Pay with a Smartphone

Preferring digital wallets is a growing trend among smartphone users. Mobile payments are becoming mainstream in the US, Asia and Europe for a good reason ― customers no longer want to carry their wallets, jammed with credit, debit, loyalty cards, bills and coins. Made to simplify our lives, mobile payment apps allow us to buy groceries in the nearest store or make an urgent money transfer just with our smartphones.

But what are digital wallets? These are payment apps storing your credit card data. Instead of carrying your credit cards, you simply place you mobile device in from of the scanner at a checkout. Ka-ching ― paid.

Here are 9 ways how you can pay with your smartphone.

How to pay with native NFC payment apps

1. Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay

Available on IPhone 6 and more recent versions of Apple devices (with IPad and Apple Watch included), Apple Pay is accepted in millions of shops both offline and online. Instead of swiping your card you simply hold your iPhone against an NFC reader and approve the transaction with Apples Face ID or Touch ID, depending on the device model. The process is just that easy ― no signature, no PIN. Lots of shopping chains like Macy’s or Walgreens have already signed on. To be more precise, over 50% of US retailers accept Apple Pay.

Android Pay and Samsung Pay work pretty much the same. Android Pay requires unlocking your smartphone for proceeding the payment. In case you phone is stolen, you can lock it right away and erase the banking data. Plus, Android Pay allows skipping the step of entering shipping information manually as it conveys automatically.

Samsung Pay uses Magnetic Secure Transmission which not only omits swiping a payment card, but also avoids the need to upgrade reading software and hardware. This is why Samsung Pay is accepted literally everywhere.

How to make personal transactions

2. Square

This fast and convenient app allows your iPad or iPhone accept credit cards. After creating an account, your get a free Square card reader shipped to you. Just plug the card reader into the headphone jack, create an account and you are all set for accepting credit cards payments. Unfortunately, the service only works in the United States, as you need a US bank account, US address and an SSN to use the app.

3. Venmo

Being extremely popular among college students, this PayPal app is a secure and fast money transfer tool. Once signed up with a Facebook ID or email, a user has to connect a debit card and is good to go. Keep in mind, there is a fee for using credit cards.

What makes it so special for millennials? It’s the element of self-expression ― users can add emojis to their transactions.

4. Google Wallet

Google Wallet allows money transfers to US residents through their emails or phone numbers. Recipients need to verify their ID to accept the payment. No fees are applicable for such services. All transfers are monitored for fraudulent actions. Any proved unauthorized money transfers are 100% covered. Sounds secure, but let’s be honest, there are apps offering quicker ways to checkout with your mobile devices.

How to transfer money worldwide

5. TransferWise

TransferWise is a new way to send money abroad. The financial app not only allows avoiding hidden bank fees, but also offers fair exchange rates. This makes international transfers more affordable than ever before. The total fee for the transaction is displayed right away, with no hidden costs. TransferWise offers great usability and makes the process of sending money globally easy and transparent.

How to manage your bank account

6. Your Personal Banking App

Big banks give great own apps to their customers ― simple to use, quick, with top-offered usability. Using the banking app takes away the need to drive through a bank branch or an ATM in order to deal with everyday money transactions. In many banks you can cash your checks by simply taking a picture of them.

Wells Fargo or BSB Bank give good real-life examples of how apps digitize customers’ wallets.

How to use your cryptocurrency

7. Blockchain for Android

Let’s not forget the Bitcoin buzz as the price of that cryptocurrency has hit a record of $20,000. The app allows managing your digital wallet on the go ― use Touch ID to access the wallet and seamlessly transfer cryptocurrency by scanning a recipient’s personal QR codes. With 25 languages supported and converting more than 22 currencies, Blockchain Android is so far the best attempt at streamlining cryptocurrencies.

How to deal with loyalty and gift cards

8. Gyft

Gyft definitely makes your wallet less bulky. Upload your gift cards into the app and forget carrying them with you and digging in the wallet. The app allows sending and receiving gift cards, managing the balance, and paying with your smartphone at a checkout. Good news, you’ll never leave that $20 Starbucks card somewhere again.

9. Stocard

Stocard was created for carrying your loyalty cards in a digital format. The absence of intrusive ads is a definitely a plus, while you can still follow on special offers.

Scanning methods at the checkout may vary. It’s either you scan a card yourself, or you may need to hand the smartphone to a cashier for scanning.

What are we expecting?

The digital wallet ecosystem is evolving as new technologies are being deployed. The number of users turning their heads to mobile payments is constantly growing. As a result, competition among the financial and money-transfer apps will only get stronger. There is no obvious leader yet, despite the number of big players such as PayPal or Apple.

What’s clear is that people start to prefer carrying their smartphones as payment tools instead of wallets, stuffed with cards and cash.