Five years ago, you would never have considered leaving the house and going to the store without your wallet. This idea was preposterous, because how could you possibly buy anything without cash or a credit/debit card? Today, this has changed. You can now go into a store with nothing more than your smartphone (which is more than likely always with you) and make your purchases all thanks to the mobile wallet.
There are several options when it comes to mobile wallets, and depending on the type of phone you have, you may have multiple options. So how do you know which mobile wallet is right for you? Check out your options below.
Whether you are an Apple user or not, you have probably heard of Apple Pay due to the massive amount of advertising prior to the launch in 2014. What started out as simply Passbook on older versions of iPhones, has now turned into Apple Pay on the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and iWatch. No longer is Passbook solely a place for you to load Starbucks gift cards and airline boarding passes. Now within your Passbook app you can find Apple Pay.
Apple Pay is a mobile wallet that is simple to use and very secure. You simply open your Passbook app, add any debit and credit cards you want, take your smartphone to the store where Apple Pay is accepted, and hold your thumb to the button while placing your smartphone near the terminal. It is really that simple. Additionally, unlike when you swipe your card in the terminal and your account number is transmitted to the store, with Apple Pay there is no account number exchange. Instead a "token" is transmitted for that specific transaction and is useless for subsequent purchases.
Google Wallet is the Android's version of Apple Pay and works on Apple phones as well as Android based smartphones such as the Galaxy S5. In many ways Google Wallet is even easier to use than Apple Pay; All you do is wake up your device, hold the back of your smartphone to the terminal, and enter your pin if asked. However, because there is no fingerprint authorization to verify that you are in fact the owner of the smartphone/credit card, it is wise to make sure you have a passcode set up on your phone. Also, make sure you're on a reliable network, like T-Mobile, to make sure your transactions go through quickly and smoothly.
Since security is always a concern with mobile wallets, Google Wallet assigns you a MasterCard number. This number is used in all transactions and protects you from vendors having your real account numbers. However, unlike an actual credit card that bills you monthly, this card draws payment immediately from your chosen debit or credit card.
Directly competing with Apple Pay, Samsung launched Samsung Pay with the release of their S6 and S6 Edge. This mobile wallet is extremely comparable to Apple Pay in both the way it is used (including fingerprint verification) and the tokenization. However, the biggest difference between the two and what many say gives Samsung Pay the edge over Apple Pay, is that Samsung Pay can be used on older terminals.
Not all store terminals have been updated to the new NFC-ready terminals, leaving them with older versions of the NFC-free magnetic stripe card readers. But Samsung Pay works with both versions, which means Samsung Pay can be used anywhere.
PayPal Wallet is an option for those who have a PayPal account and shop in stores that accept PayPal payments. When you enter a store that accepts PayPal payments, simply "check in" on your PayPal app. This simple step alerts the store that you are there shopping and gives the store your account info. When you get to the register tell the checker you want to pay with PayPal and they will match your transaction to your account and charge you electronically. It's as simple as that.
Although this list does not list every mobile wallet option available, it does give you a good overview of what's available and how to use each app. So get out there, leave your wallet at home, and shop with your mobile wallet.