Mobile Wallet Options to Consider

Published On October 12, 2015 | Mobile

Smartphones are taking a more active role in our lives, and now they want to replace your wallet with mobile wallet apps. Before you throw away your wallet, it’s important to note that mobile wallets have some limitations. They only work with newer smartphones and not all credit cards, banks, or stores are compatible with mobile wallet apps, but this is quickly changing as more people start taking advantage of mobile wallets.

What Are Mobile Wallets?

Mobile wallets are smartphone apps which basically “hold” digital versions of all of the cards we keep in our wallets, credit cards, debit cards, and store loyalty cards.

What About Security?

You may be wondering if mobile wallet apps are secure. The answer just might surprise you. Mobile wallet apps are quite likely more secure than using your physical wallet thanks to something called a “token,” a unique one-time transaction number. Mobile wallets generate a new token at each transaction so if a token number happens to get stolen, it won’t work again and thieves won’t be able to steal your money. Mobile wallets also require a password or fingerprint in order to make purchases and your credit card number is not stored in your phone for added security.

Mobile Wallet Options

The top contenders for mobile wallets include Apple Pay, Android Pay, and the newest member to this growing technology, Samsung Pay. Here’s the rundown of each one to help you choose the right mobile wallet for your needs.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay makes paying at stores that support the technology super easy. All you have to do is touch your phone to a near-field communication (NFC) payment terminal and authorize your payment with your fingerprint. But because Apple Pay only uses NFC technology, it can only be used at stores equipped with NFC payment terminals. There are more than 700,000 stores that currently accept Apple Pay with numbers growing all the time. Apple Pay is also compatible with hundreds of U.S. Banks, making it a great option for those interested in mobile wallet technology. If Apple Pay is something you’re considering, it’s important to note that it is only available on iPhone 6 and newer models as well as the Apple Watch.

Android Pay

Android Pay is Google’s offering to the mobile wallet world and is available on Android smartphones that have both an NFC chip and run Android KitKat 4.4 or above. Like Apple Pay, Android Pay only works where NFC payment terminals are available. Using Android Pay is as easy as unlocking your phone and holding it to an NFC terminal to make a payment. Unfortunately, Android Pay only works with a handful of banks but is available on the major wireless carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon.

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay is the newest addition to mobile wallet technology. Samsung Pay sets itself apart from Apple Pay and Android Pay by using magnetic secure transfer (MST) technology in addition to NFC. This allows Samsung Pay to be used at more retailers than Apple Pay and Android Pay. Samsung Pay’s MST compatibility allows users to make payments just about anywhere a credit card can be swiped.

Samsung Pay is also easy to use. All you have to do is pull up your entered credit cards by swiping up on the home screen, select the card you’d like to use, and enter a pin number or use your fingerprint to authorize a payment. Your phone will then send NFC and MST signals so you don’t have to figure out which one to use and complete your transaction. Samsung Pay is available on Galaxy S6 and newer devices as well as the Galaxy Note 5. Currently Verizon does not support Samsung Pay (AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile do) and only three banks work with this technology, but this is expected to change as Samsung Pay catches traction.

Mobile wallet apps have the promise of changing the way that we pay for goods. When are you going to make the switch?

– By Jessica Oaks

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