You have a smartphone, and you use it as a watch and a timer, a newspaper and a flashlight. Now it’s time to use it as your wallet. Consumer demand for mobile payment options online and in stores is on the rise. The percentage of total sales made by mobile apps has been steadily growing for a couple of years now and this trend is expected to continue.
Looking to turn your phone into a wallet? Here are the apps you should definitely know about:
Google Wallet can be used to pay in stores and online, as well as to withdraw cash at the ATM. It utilizes the tap and pay technology, so look for the logo showing that NFC (Near Field Communication) technology which doesn’t require your mobile to touch anything in order to pay).
Unlike Google Wallet, that can be used both with Android and Apple phones, mobile payments using Apple Pay are only available to iPhone 6 users (or above) and iPhone Watch owners. Still, the variety of shops, stores and banks that partner with Apple Pay is growing rapidly.
Formerly known as Isis, this app only works with selected carriers. It is available on most Android devices and some Windows devices as well, and you can only use it with selected credit cards. Still, if you can, the deals and rewards that you can get might be worth the short download process.
This app works with Android, iOS and Windows operating systems, which makes it a more available alternative, but complexity of use, compared with other leading apps, still prevents it from being more widely used. When Google Wallet and Apple Pay allow you to pay instantly, PayPal Mobile requires you to open the app and start tapping. With ease of use being probably the number one reason for using mobile payment apps, this leaves PayPal Mobile behind the competition.
If you are a Starbucks’ customer, you can pay (and even tip) digitally, collect Starbucks rewards and get free coffee, all by using this app.
If you are not yet familiar with this app, think of PayPal with a social twist. You can transfer funds from your Venmo account to your bank account and pay anyone, even if they don’t have a Venmo account and app. The social part is a bit odd, though, reporting in a feed who paid who.
Created by merchants, this app tries to cut out the middleman that charges a processing fee and transfer some of the savings to the app’s users. Some of these merchants have even stopped accepting payments from competing apps like Apple Pay altogether. Since discounts and special promotions are applied automatically during payment process, this is a good app to have (that is, if you’re into money savings, discounts, freebies and such).
This service takes after PayPal’s model, allowing you to send and receive funds instantly. Dwolla differentiates its service by offering very low commissions. You can send funds for free if the amount you’re sending is under $10, or pay a fixed fee of 25 cents for every transaction exceeding $10. Being the cheap PayPal alternative, many businesses use it as a way to accept payments, including mobile payments.
This app can only be used once you’ve acquired a device that accompanies your mobile phone and transmits the data to the cash register. You can pay with LoopPay even in stores that do not have the NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, which gives it a huge advantage, compared to all other mobile payment apps. However, the need to pay in order to start using LoopPay is a big disadvantage, and it is still too soon to tell what percentage of mobile payments will be done this way.