Paying for stuff? There’s an app for that…of course!
You may have heard that your smartphone now has the capability to serve as a payment device, reducing your need to carry a wallet or purse with you everywhere you go.
The two big questions?
- Why would I want to use my smartphone to pay for stuff?
- How do I make that happen?
The WHY – Some of the biggest benefits of paying with your smartphone include:
- It’s safer. When you make a purchase, payment apps (Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Samsung Pay) use a device-specific number and unique transaction code. That means your card number is never stored on your device, and when you pay, your card numbers are never shared with merchants.
- It’s private. Have you ever noticed you start seeing ads everywhere tied to your recent searches or purchases? Payment apps don’t keep transaction information that can be tied back to you.
The HOW – There are several payment apps available, ranging from apps created by your credit card company to the ones specifically tailored to your smartphone type (Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, for example).
This article will focus on Android and Samsung Pay. Most of the following is an excerpt from “Here’s how to pay for things with your smartphone,” which appeared in Popular Science online on May 24, 2017.
Android Pay’s primary purpose is to let you quickly pay at the checkout in a retail store, but the tech has also found its way to apps and online shopping. Android Pay works on phones and tablets using Android 4.4 or higher, as well as Android Wear watches (such as the LG Watch Sport) that include both NFC and Android Wear 2.0.
You can manage all of your cards and other payment information through the Android Pay app on your phone. If you have already registered certain cards with Google, then you can quickly add these to Android Pay with just a few taps. If not, you can add cards directly into the app. On an Android Wear watch, you will need to install the Android Pay app separately, then use it to select one of the cards you've previously placed on your phone.
Once installed, you need to have some sort of lock on your phone (like a fingerprint or passcode) to use Android Pay, as this can verify your identity. If you're using a smartwatch, you don't need to unlock your phone every time you pay. However, if you take your watch off, then you will need to reauthorize the connection (by unlocking your phone) the next time you use Android Pay in a physical store.
Android Pay should work with most payment terminals or checkout boxes that support credit card payments, though you can also look out for the Android Pay badge. In the store, make sure your phone is unlocked, tap it against the terminal for a few seconds, and wait for the green light. Again, the system will use a unique transaction code rather than your actual card details.
Samsung Pay, despite the name, works on any modern Android phone, not just Samsung devices. You can also install it on the Gear S2 and Gear S3 smartwatches. Once you've added the Samsung Pay app to your device, add your cards within the app. When it comes time to pay, simply unlock your phone (which can even be done via an iris scan on a Galaxy S8), and then hold your phone against the terminal to use your card.
Samsung Pay has one big advantage over Apple Pay and Android Pay: It works with both chip terminals and those terminals that use the old magnetic stripe technology. In the latter case, however, you do need a recent Samsung device because the method requires extra in-phone hardware. That ability makes Samsung Pay compatible with a broader range of point-of-sale terminals.