Mobile Payment Options for Holiday Shopping
We’re quickly approaching the official start to the holiday shopping season, and this year, there’s something new in store for gift-givers and discount-seekers: mobile payments. New mobile apps and programs allow you to leave your credit cards and cash at home and simply swipe, tap, and press your way to a swift purchase. More merchants are singing on for mobile payments every day, so the number of stores where users can tap their phone to pay is growing.
We’ve rounded up the best mobile payment options below to help you go wallet-less this holiday season.
This popular mobile payment system allows users to tap their phones on the near field communication machine (those little devices also called NFC that are often attached to traditional swipe consoles for tapping instead of swiping cards).
When users tap their phones, Google Wallet charges the card linked to their Google account, so you can still reap your card’s rewards, such as points or miles. The system is still being perfected, so for now it’s only available at select merchants and will only work on NFC-enabled smartphones and tablets.
Apple Passbook already stores boarding passes, tickets and coupons, but the app’s latest trick is storing your credit and debit card info, allowing you to make purchases with Apple Pay. Available on the latest versions of iPhone, Apple Pay also uses NFC technology coupled with the phone’s unique Touch ID feature to ensure security.
A user’s payment information is kept private — the vendor never sees your card number — and in case of a lost or stolen phone, the user can instantly suspend Apple Pay through Find My iPhone.
Like Google Wallet, you still get your card’s rewards, but unfortunately, it’s only compatible with the latest Apple technology and is still gathering more merchants.
Formerly called Isis Mobile Wallet, Softcard is the joint mobile payment from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. Available on a number of smartphones, this app will store your credit, debit, and bank information, in addition to merchant discounts and loyalty or membership cards.
The PIN-protected app ensures layers of protection through easy disabling and unique transaction IDs, which make illicit use more difficult. Like its competitors, Softcard relies on NFC technology and is available at many merchants nationwide; however, the approved cards and banks it accepts are very limited.
Already well-known in the online shopping sphere, the PayPal app also allows you to use their system at brick-and-mortar stores. From the app, you can pay any participating retail or restaurant locations directly, or use the traditional PayPal route and send money directly to almost anyone.
While you don’t need NFC technology (a big plus for those with older smartphones), PayPal can only be used within their merchant network, which is still limited.
Though not a conventional mobile wallet, Square Cash allows users to quickly and easily send or request money between two parties. Settle a dinner tab with friends, split a taxi, or pay virtually anyone by sending money through phone or email.
The system syncs directly to bank accounts and funds are transferred within seconds. While not available at merchants at the moment, it certainly makes travelling without your wallet a whole lot easier when you’ve still got access to your bank account.
These mobile payment options will help you breeze through check out lines, keep track of your coupons and member cards, and best of all, leave your wallet at home this holiday season.
Which mobile payment method is your favorite?
– By Jessica Oaks