Tips Top Seven Mobile Payment Options
In our digital world, you can forget about digging through your wallet to find the right card, swipe, wait for authorization, and sign – let alone dealing with cash or checks. Speed, convenience, security, and the need for contactless forms of payment – particularly given heightened concerns about spreading germs – have boosted the popularity of mobile payments with your phone, tablet, or smartwatch. Many even believe we are moving toward a cashless society, but only time will tell.
With mobile payment options, pay for goods and services at retail businesses with a tap of your smartphone or watch, check out faster when shopping online, transfer money to individuals, and much more. It’s never been easier to split the check at a restaurant, send money to a friend or family member, and pay the babysitter or the neighborhood kid who mows the lawn. Mobile payments take seconds to execute and are considered by many experts to be more secure than card-swiping, dramatically reducing the risk of fraudulent transactions – something consumers and merchants alike can appreciate.
Learn more about seven of the most popular payment apps – and maybe you’ll find one (or more) that’s right for you.
Choosing a Mobile Payment Option Things to Consider
First things first, consider the following when choosing a mobile payment app:
- Your preferred device and operating system
- Transaction fees, if any
- Whether you mainly want to pay merchants or be able to send money to family/friends
- Your location (not all apps are supported in all countries or stores)
- Security features of the app
- Rewards for using the app
Mobile Payments Apple Pay
Make contactless, secure purchases in stores, in apps, and on the web with Apple Pay. You can also send and receive money from friends and family in Messages – and can even ask Siri to do it for you! Any money you receive is saved in Apple Cash along with Daily Cash back you earn with your Apple credit card. Use your Apple Cash balance to make purchases, send money, or transfer to your bank account. Get started by securely adding your debit and/or credit cards for use on your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Mac.
Available Since: 2014
Parent Company: Apple, Inc.
Compatible with: iOS
Fees: There are no fees if you use your Apple Pay balance or a debit card; if you use a credit card, there’s a 3 percent transaction fee.
Security: Face ID and Touch ID bring privacy and security to Apple Pay. When you make a purchase, Apple Pay uses a device-specific number and unique transaction code. So your card number is never stored on your device or on Apple servers, and when you pay, your card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants. When you pay with a debit or credit card, Apple Pay doesn’t keep transaction information that can be tied back to you. And when you use Apple Cash, information is stored only for troubleshooting, fraud prevention, and regulatory purposes.
What Sets it Apart: Apple Pay is ideal for, you guessed it, Apple users. Aside from Apple’s security measures, there’s no app to download and everything lives in your digital Wallet. In addition to debit and credit cards, you can also add boarding passes, tickets, rewards cards, and even student ID cards to your Wallet. Apple Pay works with most credit and debit cards from nearly all U.S. banks and may be used in at least 24 countries around the world.
Mobile Payments Cash App
Download the Cash App and create a free account to instantly send or receive money from other users within the same country (currently available in the U.S. and U.K.). You need a working bank account tied to your Cash App account to transfer money. Choose a unique username called a $Cashtag, which automatically creates a shareable URL. To pay or request funds, start by tapping the dollar sign icon “$” at the bottom of the app.
Available Since: 2013
Parent Company: Square
Compatible with: Android & iOS
Fees: 3% when you send money using a credit card, no fees with a debit card or bank account.
Security: The Cash App employs a variety of safety features including security locks (PIN entry, Touch ID, or Face ID verification), coin storage, account notification, encryption, disable anytime, and fraud protection.
What Sets it Apart: You can get a free Visa-certified debit card, called a Cash Card which can be used at standard brick-and-mortar retail locations, online, and at ATMs to take out cash. It’s also the only way to get Boosts – instant discounts at grocery stores, Starbucks, Walmart, etc. You can also receive your paycheck, tax returns, and other direct deposits up to two days early using your Cash App; in addition, it’s a fast and accessible way to invest in stock or even convert dollars to or buy and sell bitcoin.
Mobile Payments Facebook Pay
Facebook Pay is a new payment service that lets users send and receive money without any fees across the Facebook family of apps – Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. It essentially has two purposes – to pay people and buy things online – and you can use your computer or mobile device. If you’re already a Facebook user, there’s nothing to download – you already have the app; just input your preferred method of payment – debit card, credit card, or PayPal information.
Available Since: 2019
Parent Company: Facebook
Compatible with: Any device where you can access Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, or WhatsApp.
Security: Facebook Pay will not store money in an online account. Facebook Pay uses advanced technologies to keep payment information secure and protected; however, you can add a PIN, fingerprint, or facial recognition when sending money or making a payment to add security.
What Sets it Apart: Facebook Pay is great for Facebook lovers and you can now transfer money internationally. Although there are currently no rewards for using Facebook Pay, this app makes it easy to donate to Facebook Fundraisers to show your support for charities, non-profits, or other personal fundraisers that are important to you, buy whatever catches your eye on Facebook Marketplace, or access entertainment or experiences by purchasing games, tickets to events, or premium content on Facebook Watch.
Mobile Payments Google Pay
If you have a Google account, you are essentially signed up for Google Pay and can send and receive money using an email address or phone number – no more IOUs or bank transfers. Google Pay is a fast, simple way to pay online or make quick, contactless payments with your phone. With contactless payments, you can check out faster with the device that’s already in your hand.
Available Since: 2011
Parent Company: Google
Compatible with: Android & iOS
Fees: There are no fees for sending or receiving money with Google Pay, but you will pay 2.9 percent for credit card usage.
Security: Google Pay uses an encrypted number instead of your actual credit or debit card number, so your details stay secure; in addition, your payment information is protected with multiple layers of security.
What Sets it Apart: Touting its contactless way to pay, Google Pay is best for Android users. With Google Pay, you can continue to rack up rewards, earn cash back, and get the protections provided by your bank or PayPal, leaving your wallet at home. You can also add loyalty programs like Walgreens Balance Rewards® and MyPanera so you can collect points whenever you have your phone. It also stores gift cards, e-tickets, and boarding passes. Google Pay is widely accepted and currently available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Mobile Payments PayPal
The OG online payment system, PayPal has been around since the late ’90s. It supports worldwide online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like checks and money orders. PayPal is a secure, easy way to pay and get paid. You can pay someone fast, buy online or in apps, or pay touch-free at a retailer, all in one secure account. You may sign up for free and choose from two types of accounts:
- Personal Account: Shop, receive money, or just pay someone back for lunch. All without sharing your full payment information.
- Business Account: Accept all major credit cards online or at the register. Send secure invoices to your customers.
Available Since: 1998
Parent Company: eBay
Compatible with: Android, iOS, and internet-enabled devices
Fees: Basic PayPal accounts are free, and all purchases made in the United States with the service are also free. The company charges fees for sellers, international transactions, and sending money with a credit or debit card.
Security: PayPal has a well-known reputation for security; however, it does lack NFC, which is a secure technology used when paying by scanning your smartphone or watch. They use the latest anti-fraud technology to help make sure your transactions are safe and you are 100 percent protected against unauthorized payments sent from your account.
What Sets it Apart: PayPal has been trusted for more than 20 years and is widely accepted. It works internationally and is great for low-fee transactions. With PayPal, you can still use your credit card and earn rewards, which can be transferred to your PayPal balance – plus, Honey has joined the PayPal family, allowing you to find and instantly apply discounts at over 30,000 retailers online. Honey is 100 percent free.
Mobile Payments Samsung Pay
Samsung Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service that lets users make payments using any Samsung phone or Gear smartwatch. It is accepted at millions of places all over the world. You can check out fast – no need to enter your credit card number for in-app or online purchases – simply select Samsung Pay at checkout and authenticate the purchase with your fingerprint, PIN, or iris scan. It can be used in person anywhere that accepts credit cards, including traditional swipe machines.
Samsung also offers Samsung Pay Cash, where you can send and receive funds from other users and receive all or part of your recurring sources of income – from weekly paychecks to monthly Social Security benefits, pensions, and tax refunds.
Available Since: 2015
Parent Company: Samsung Electronics
Compatible with: Android
Security: With Samsung Pay, each transaction is covered by your bank’s fraud protection and authenticated by your fingerprint, PIN, or iris scan.
What Sets it Apart: Great for Samsung users and can be used almost everywhere around the globe. You can get money back when you shop your favorite merchants with Cash Back Awards in Samsung Pay – five rewards points for each use. Samsung Pay lets you carry your credit, debit, gift and membership cards on your device(s) so you always have them when you need them. This app stores other information, such as shopping loyalty programs, e-tickets, and even airline miles accounts.
Mobile Payments Venmo
Promoting a social vibe, Venmo is designed for payments between friends and people who know and trust one another. Via Venmo, friends can share what they’re experiencing and buying – by viewing, liking, and commenting on a shared purchase. So, at its core, Venmo provides a social way to quickly pay and request money. With a motto of “Make and Share Payments,” you can use it to:
- Split a lunch bill
- Pay your friend half of a cab fare
- Send your roommate your half of the rent
- Pay the neighbor’s son who mows your lawn
Venmo account holders can transfer funds to others via this mobile phone app. Both the sender and receiver have to live in the U.S. and must have a U.S. cell phone that can send/receive text messages from short codes.
Available Since: 2009
Parent Company: PayPal and Braintree
Compatible with: Android & iOS
Fees: Venmo has no monthly or annual fees and standard transfers from your Venmo balance or bank account are free. You are charged a 3 percent fee to send money from your credit card, and instant transfers to your bank account come with a 1 percent fee. If you have a Venmo debit card, there may be additional fees for cash withdrawal.
Security: Venmo uses encryption to help protect account information and monitors account activity to help identify unauthorized transactions. Venmo discourages payments to people you don’t know, especially if it involves a sale for goods and services (such as event tickets or Craigslist items, as they are potentially high-risk); Venmo does not offer buyer or seller protection.
What Sets it Apart: Venmo is a fun and easy way to send, spend, and receive money, including their business/social commerce platform and Venmo debit card with rewards. The app is great for sending small amounts of money. Choose the color of your Venmo Card and earn cash back by making eligible Venmo Card purchases at select merchants; current merchant offers are shown in the app. You can disable or enable your card in the app, use Direct Deposit on Venmo and your paychecks can show up in your account up to two days earlier than your normal payday, manage your balance by transferring money from a linked funding source, get no-cost withdrawals from MoneyPass ATMs in the U.S., all while enjoying swipe-free shopping – just tap your card and go.
The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is subject to change. Readers should independently verify information. SKT does not endorse any mobile payment provider and readers agree to assume liability in using any of the named services.